Security - Nigerian members of Nigeria-Cameroon trans-border security committee inauguratred - Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Tuesday inaugurated the Nigerian members of the Nigeria-Cameroon Trans-border Security Committee in Abuja, saying that beyond providing a shield against terrorism, the committee is also mandated with “safeguarding lives and properties along our borders with Cameroon”.
Specifically, the activated Nigeria-Cameroon Trans-border Security Committee would put final stop to trans-border crimes and the recent skirmishes and disturbing clashes in villages along the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Ashiru said that trans-border crimes included the on-going war in Mali, stressing Nigeria’s resolve to get rid of all terrorist groups, their networks and activities.
The inauguration is also being constituted as part of Nigeria’s desire to take neighbourhood diplomacy to a commanding height.
Nigeria and Cameroon already has a functional mixed Commission following the October 2002 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which gave sovereignty of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon.
Members of the committee were drawn from the three arms of the Nigerian military – Army, Navy and Air Force, the Nigeria police, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, National Boundary Commission (NBC) and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The committee is to be co-chaired by Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col Sambo Dasuki.
Ambassador Ashiru stated that the task of the committee is of such utmost national importance that “it must be undertaken seriously, considering its link with our national security and development.”
Saying that the committee is to “develop practicable strategies and measures to strengthen cooperation on security between Cameroon and Nigeria along their common borders, Ashiru said there will be new measures to address the challenges of terrorism, trans-border trafficking in small arms and light weapons and influx of illegal immigrants.
'You have all been nominated by your ministries, departments and agencies in recognition of your skills and deep knowledge of the issues to be addressed in the implementation of the agreement on the establishment of the trans-border security committee between Nigeria and Cameroon.”
In December 2003, Nigeria handed over 32 villages to Cameroon as part of the 2002 ICJ border deal. In January 2004, both countries agreed to mount joint border patrols after Nigeria had, in August 2008, duly handed over the potentially oil-rich Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon, bringing to an end a long-standing dispute over the territory.
Later in October that year, both countries agreed to work together to protect their land and sea border from attacks by militants and pirates.
In February last year, Ambassador Ashiru signed the agreement embodying the committee with the vice prime minister of Cameroon in the context of the shared desire of Nigeria and Cameroon to strengthen security along their common borders.