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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Boundaries commission charged to step up efforts to prevent border conflicts

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The National Boundaries Commission (NBC) has charged to step up its vital role in managing geographic boundaries in order to prevent border conflicts.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the Border Commission has a vital and sensitive role to play as an expert body, and as an honest and trustworthy broker.

Osinbajo, who spoke on Monday at a meeting with deputy governors of the 36 states also blamed some politicians whom he said “play ethnic or religious games” to exacerbate otherwise straightforward issues resulting in violence and death.

The Vice President, who is also Chairman of the NBC said it has become expedient to convene the meeting to enable all stakeholders in boundary disputes to understand the Act establishing the NBC and their roles to ensure proper boundary management.

“Very often you find that where politicians play ethnic or religious games, it merely exacerbates otherwise straightforward issues, and may frequently result in violence and death,” Osinbajo said.

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“I believe it is responsible leadership that can sit at the table with other leaders and agree to give and take, make concessions that are often difficult and be able to communicate the issues to their constituents and populace.

“It is that kind of courageous leadership the Law had in mind when those of us who are put into positions of responsibility with respect to border disputes are placed in those positions.”

The NBC was established under CAP 238 of 1990 and is responsible for managing internal boundaries among states and external borders between Nigeria and other countries. It is also responsible for preventing the inflow of contraband and illegal materials into the country.

The Vice President said land is an emotive issue, and not just in Nigeria but everywhere, which accounts in many cases for the mindless violence and sometimes fatalities that result from border disputes and clashes.

For many of our people, Osinbajo said “it is the very essence of their identity; in some cases, it is tied to ancestry and ancient unresolved rivalries.

“But lost on many combatants is the fact that many of these boundary lines are in many cases merely for administrative convenience, the sorts of disputes we have, even if there are, shouldn’t result in violence and dislocation of so many of our people.”

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