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Bolaji Akinyemi: Issue Of Francophone Countries Surrounding Nigeria’s Porous Borders Must Be Confronted

He said there will be major problems with Nigerian borders regardless of intervention in the Niger crisis or not.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, has emphasized the need for Nigeria to confront the issue of francophone countries around Nigeria’s porous borders. He stated that the Niger troops actions definitely have consequences that Nigeria will most likely intervene in, but the challenge of porous borders needs to be addressed whether or not Nigeria intervenes or not. 

He said, “Once an organization which you belong to draws a line in the sand, and that’s the red line, and you try to cross that red line, actions have consequences.

“To that extent, what the troops in Niger have done has consequences.”

Akinyemi added, “ While I am not being flippant with the lives of Nigerian troops, the fact is we have an army, and where issues of national interest are concerned and the commander-in-chief decides that it calls for deploying armed forces, then it will simply have to. 

“I must re-emphasize that we are going to have major problems which we are already having with porous borders, and what to do about those porous borders, even after this Niger crisis is over or not, is a major issue we must confront in this country.”

Akinyemi has said that there will be consequences whether Nigeria intervenes or not, hereby, the need to call policy-makers to the attention of Nigeria’s porous borders. Nigeria shares borders in the North-East with Chad, in the East with Cameroon, and in the West with Benin Republic, with security challenges lingering especially in the North with Niger Republic.

He said, “Nigeria is surrounded by long porous borders, and the fact that we have not gotten involved, yet we have to confront these issues, shows to me that sooner or later the problems posed to Nigeria by the fact that we are surrounded by french-speaking countries and porous borders are issues which we will confront.

“I hope that the policy-makers are listening to this. They will have to confront it. These are some of the issues we should have confronted in the 70’s.

“These issues will always be there. They have nothing to do with how we react to the events that have taken place in Niger.”

He also stated that, “The coup that has taken place, how will they deal with the issues they themselves, – the Jihadist, the ISIS – confront coming down from the Sahel? How will they deal with it?

“France bears a lot of blame for this because it is simply there and yet these Jihadist, the terrorists continue to play a role in the whole of the Sahel that you then just wonder whether France is not deliberately under-playing its own power in dealing with these people.”

Frances Ibiefo