Cross-border crimes seem to have reduced considerably across the country since the closure of Nigeria’s land borders with its neighbours, according to The Nation investigation.
Fifteen of Nigeria’s 36 states share borders with Benin Republic, Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroun.
These include Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa and Yobe states.
The rest are Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue and Cross River.
The police in Ogun, Kwara and Adamawa confirmed that the border closure has helped in reducing crimes in the states.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, told The Nation that officers and men of the command would wish to see the borders closed for a longer period.
Abimbola, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said that prior to the border closure, especially before the last general elections, the army intercepted 40,000 cartridges in the border area while the Police also intercepted 35,865 live cartridges at the border communities of Imeko and Ilara area of the state – all being smuggled into the country through the Gateway state border communities.
“Crimes have reduced to a tolerable level. We have little work to do in the areas of crimes control. Left for the Police, we will want the borders to be closed for a longer time,” he said.
Oyeyemi’s counterpart in Kwara State, Ajayi Okasanmi, said: “We do not have cross border bandits in Kwara State, but that is not to say that closure of land borders has not assisted the command in curbing other crimes like human trafficking and smuggling of contraband goods and illegal arms.
“To that extent, the border closure has had a tremendous positive impact on the state.”
Spokesman for the Adamawa State Police Command, Sulaiman Nguroje, spoke in the same vein.
According to him, crime in border communities in the state has reduced since the closure of land borders by the federal government.
“Crime has reduced in border communities so much. I do not have the statistics in my head. It takes looking into relevant records to be specific, but the improvement in border crime control is obvious,” the PPRO said.
Moves for access to the relevant records he mentioned failed, as he said he and the relevant officials were occupied with preparation for a coming event.
The most rampant crime around Adamawa State currently is kidnapping. There are also isolated attacks resulting from conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
All of these occur in towns and villages away from the borders as around the borders.
The Lagos State police spokesman, Bala Elkanah, said there was no available data on the issue.
He said that crime rate in border areas has always been generally low.
“I don’t really have such information because the State has always recorded low crime rate, especially in the border areas,” he said.
“There haven’t been incidents of cross border crimes in the State in recent times.”
Report by The Nation