The Emir of Yashikira, Dr Umaru Usman Sariki, the Sabikpassi II of Baruten Local Government, Kwara has called on the Federal Government to help address criminal activities in the border towns within his domain.
Sariki made the call in his address at the 11th African Border Day Celebration in Abuja on Monday.
The event was organised by the National Boundary Commission with support from German Corporation (GIZ) and African Union
The traditional ruler said that the 2021 Border Day celebration was an opportunity for him to present the challenges confronting his subjects for many years.
“Our relationship with Niger Republic is not that bad. It is well managed because we are same people but divided by the colonial masters.
“We in the Nigeria’s side are not treated well, because, we practically depend on Benin Republic for social amenities. Like me, I only got my university education in Nigeria.
“However, the rate of crime along the border is terrible and need urgent intervention from the Federal Government. Not only that, even healthcare facilities too, because we depend on Benin Republic for healthcare services.
“The smuggling of petroleum products and other forms of criminalities are being facilitated by the absence of security forces and vast forest. If nothing is done, our forest may become another Sambisa forest for bandits and smugglers,” he said.
The emir said that there was need to establish a policy on commercialisation of petroleum products to checkmate activities of smugglers of the products.
He said that the porosity of Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic, Republic of Chad, Niger Republic and other via forests should be looked into with the aim of reducing crime rate.
“Sometimes ago, bandits came to attack border communities and carted away valuables. Our military should be well equipped to tackle those criminals.
“In a recent attack, the military from Benin Republic came with armour tanks, but our own military came with dilapidated vans. More should be done on security to help check crimes at the country’s border,” Sariki said. (NAN)