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Summary: The incidences of trans-national terrorist operations from the neighboring countries have recently risen at an unprecedented rate. While multilateral and bilateral security relations have played an immense role in curbing trans-national terrorism, there appears to be a clear difference in how each neighboring country uses military engagement tools. Nigeria’s border closure policy is, however, considered a short-term solution given its ineffectiveness. As a result, Nigeria must rethink its border control approach, involve the Civil Society in counter-radicalization operations, and deploy community intelligence in the fight against transnational terrorism.
Transnational terrorism is one of the most serious security concerns facing the world currently (Rosand, 2006). According to Chenoweth (2013), the international counterterrorism regime continues to suffer from weaknesses such as inadequate compliance and enforcement of existing instruments and limited resources and expertise (Chenoweth, 2013).
In Africa, emerging security threats to nation-states of Africa have become a source of problem for most governments in the continent. Further complicating the security landscape is the increase in the outbreak of transnational terrorism that feeds into the so-called terrorist loop in Africa (Onuoha, 2013). The growing audacity of the Nigerian Boko Haram is one among many developments that have made West Africa a region of growing terror concern (Onuoha & Ezirim, 2013). Salih (2011) argues that the Horn of Africa represents a reverse of the theory of hegemonic stability, in which superpower hegemony deepens rather than lessens political stability. Military operations have been employed in Mali and Nigeria to counter transnational terrorism. In spite of these interventions, transnational terrorism pervades Africa (Onuocha & Ezirim, 2013).
While diplomacy has been used in Africa to combat terrorism, Kwesi (2012) argues that the challenges of lack of an efficient regional and organizational structure, inefficient early warning mechanisms for intelligence and unclear foreign policy objectives and poor coordination have hindered effective progress. Despite this interest, it is difficult to gauge the influence of security-based diplomacy in the management of transnational terrorism in the Nigeria and Niger context.
The objective of this paper is to provide improved analysis capabilities to better understand and optimize the border patrolling and surveillance in controlling of transnational terrorism. The relevant of this study to government, security agencies especially those at the frontier and those in charged in border control, the private organizations and society in general cannot be over emphasized. Also the research method used in this study was mainly secondary with few primary data through interview and discussion with expert in the field.
In the recent past, the concept of security-based diplomacy which refers to the use of violent military force to achieve desire ends has expanded to become the dominant strategy and is now being emphasized as a counterterrorism measure. This shift from diplomacy based security that seeks to achieve national security and advance national interest via the application of diplomacy to the former could be attributed to the fact that generating a comprehensive response to transnational terrorism since September 11, 2001 has proven difficult. Transnational terrorism remains a fundamental threat to national, regional and international peace and security. Overtime, terrorist networks have evolved to the extent that they challenge states’ capacity and law enforcement agencies and the tools required to prevent them (Rosendorff & Sendler, 2012). To a larger extent, the security-based diplomacy approach has been state-centric and for states like Nigeria, facing the growth of terrorist attacks, have struggled to balance the need for new security legislation and architecture. The coercive strategies employed by the state have not been overly successful since terrorist activities have increased even as more force is employed in attempts to neutralize them (Martin, 2011). Although security-based diplomacy approaches have emerged to promote security and deter transnational terrorism (Rosendorff & Sendler, 2012), there seems to be a discernable gap in how often each country employs particular military engagement tools.
The threat of transnational terrorism across Africa and the responses from governments in the region differ in a number of ways and can best be understood in their specific political, economic, cultural , religious and historic contexts. Each country has had its own unique experience with the phenomenon and in countering it, with many having had to confront the threat years before September 2001. (Rosand, 2009) for example, the recent and ongoing terrorism-related activities across North Africa and now moving into the Sahel highlight both the persistence and scope of a threat that affects each country in one form or another and the region as a whole.
For instance, in 2017 numerous terrorist attacks occurred in Diffa and Tillabery regions, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries. Terrorist organizations frequently stole military vehicles and equipment that they then used in later attacks. Terrorist attacks in western Niger focused almost exclusively on security forces, while Boko Haram and ISIS-WA attacked both civilian and military targets in the southeast. Attacks included: On June 28, two suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers attacked a refugee camp in Kabelewa, Diffa, killing three refugees and wounding 11 others. This was the first suicide attack in Diffa in more than one year. On July 2, Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped 39 women and killed nine civilians in N’Galewa village in Diffa region. On October 4, suspected ISIS-GS terrorists attacked U.S. and Nigerien Special Operations Forces in Tongo, Tillabery, killing four U.S. soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers and wounding two U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien soldiers (United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism, 2017). Similarly, in the recent past terrorist tagged as armed bandit attacked and killed 74 people and destroyed properties worth of millions in different villages such as Garki 25, Dan Aduwa 13, Kuzari 25, and Masawa village five people including women and children of Sabon Birni L. G in Sokoto state Nigeria which are very close to Nigeria/ Niger Republic border (Sahara reporters, 2020).
Consequently, Issacharoff (2014) argues that while diplomacy has undergone profound changes in an era of instant information and greater public access to multiple sources of news and political analysis, the sensitive strategic challenges still impact on states‟ national security agenda. In the case of Nigeria and Niger, persistent reports of terrorist attacks have deepened concern over the spread of transnational terrorism. As such, it was necessary to interrogate the role of security-based diplomacy in the management of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger.
Despite the efforts made in control of transnational terrorism, the polarizing tendencies of terrorist radicalization; the intelligence failures on how government agencies interact and share information with one another (Ozzie, 2013) and the underlying challenges of porous borders can hamper the ability of law enforcement to identify and detain potential terrorists. Moreover, while multilateral and bilateral efforts have yielded some positive results, the apparent shift to security-based diplomacy in the management of transnational terrorism has received little scholarly attention, particularly at the national level. This is why there is need to investigate security-based diplomacy influencing transnational terrorism management in Nigeria and Niger.
Nigeria lies between latitudes 4° and 14°N and longitudes 2° and 15°E. Nigeria is attributed as possessing a total area of 923,768 km2 (356,669 sq mi), making it the world‟s 32nd-largest country. It shares a 4,047 kilometers (2,515 mi) border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km), Cameroon (1690 km), and has a coastline of at least 853 km (Parradang, 2014).
Major indicators in 2013 statistics of World Index with focus on Safety and Rule of law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable economic opportunity and Human Development showed that Nigeria, Africa‟s largest economy, is lagging behind most African countries after being ranked 41st out of 52 countries in Africa with 43.4% (Ishola, 2013). Outside of China, Russia, Brazil and the European Union, African countries have a unique rate of land borders and 8 neighbors. For instance, 18 of the top 46 countries with long borders in the world are in Africa and Nigeria is ranked 18th on the list (Parradang, 2014). Despite the fact that Nigeria has fewer neighbors with a shorter land border which should make it safer than Mauritania, Angola or South Africa, only four African countries namely: Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic, Chad and Libya, with longer land borders and more neighbors are worse off than Nigeria (Parradang, 2014).
Although the Government of Nigeria was prompted to implement the security-based diplomacy approach as a measure of combat terrorism, the unprecedented reach and potential of terrorist networks such as Boko Haram and its affiliates constitute a new danger that still challenges standing tools and institutions charged with providing national security. Counterterrorism measures have been heightened and Nigerian government has been developing a legal architecture through robust military, enhancing the structural capacity of intelligence sharing mechanisms, stringent border controls that resulted to border closure in recent time and counter radicalization programs. Yet, this has tended to negatively impact on its relations with neighboring states (Martin, 2011).
Nigerian borders and security challenges
Insurgency and terrorism records available to the Nigeria Immigration Service revealed that there are over 1,400 illegal routes into Nigeria-1,316 more than the approved number of border control posts. The 84 approved border controls cover 4,047km, the total length of Nigeria‟s land border. Ogun and Adamawa states, for example, have 83 and 80 illegal posts respectively (Parradang, 2014). The activities of smuggling and tax evasion in cross-border movements across Nigeria-Niger border provides the transitional features of border economic activities, interaction patterns in the border regions and flouting of international laws and convention on border crossing to the detriment of the national interest and invariably the national security in that era (Collins, 1976). It also indicated that porous features of the border region and the prevailing economic policies of the neighboring states are tantamount to influence illegal cross-border transactions in goods, currency and other threatening circumstance (Collins, 1976).
Nigeria‟s economy is not translating into a better socio-political environment within the West African sub-region due to decades of neglect and misrule have allowed informal economies at the borders to thrive on crime. Nigeria‟s borders with its many pot-holes are used for all illegal activities like, human trafficking, movement of illegal weapons, smuggling of food and non food items, used cars, drugs and other contraband goods (Parradang, 2014). The implication is that Nigeria is not safe due to cross-border population and its attendant economic activities, cross-border crossing and immigration, ineffective border control and the porosity of Nigerian borders which is a challenge to Nigeria national security and boundary questions, and hence the need for this study.
Despite the considerable efforts by governments in North Africa, there is still a heightened terrorist threat there. A number of terrorist groups are present, most notably al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), that have engaged in suicide bombings, money laundering, smuggling, kidnappings drugs and human trafficking as well as other illicit activities across the neighboring borders of Mauritania, Niger, Libya, Chad and Mali. In fact, the rapid growth of entwined transnational criminal networks operating between North Africa and the Sahel is now threatening the security stability in the region (Rosand, 2009). Yet, there seems to be a dearth of research to examine how security-based diplomacy influences transnational terrorism management in Nigeria and Niger, and hence the need for this study. Niger has not been exempted in the terrorist attack trends. The country has been hit severally by acts of terrorism.
Furthermore, it was propounded that the degree of arms proliferation and possession of arms and ammunition surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), AK-47 assault rifles etc by rebel forces and mercenaries during Libya uprising open to acquisition by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and sold to Boko Haram and its splinter groups like kidnappers, armed banditry, cattle rustlers, Niger delta militant in Nigeria have made the matter worse. For instance, October 6 2019, armed men who believed to be Boko Haram ambushed military convoy near Mauro village in Benisheikh district and killed 16 civilians, 11 soldiers, similarly on same day gunmen abduct 6 people in Adamawa, also October 4 2019 armed men abduct 6 female students, two teachers in Kaduna (Daily Trust 2019).
However, the failure of the State in Congo and the Central African Republic as well as the continued fighting by rebels in South Sudan, Angola, Uganda and parts of Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya and Somalia has spread to Nigeria‟s neighbors and invariably threatening Nigeria‟s peace and security. The only means of ensuring that Nigeria is salvaged and protected from the threats from its neighbors lies in its capacity to border patrol and surveillance to contain the growing security threats across the continent. Moreover, there is need for national cohesion to prevent the splitting of such threats into Nigeria through religious connotations and tribal tendencies across borders. This is owing to the fact that level of development achieved by Nigeria as a modern African State and the vast resources available and untapped can be of great benefits to the use for the nation‟s development and its huge population, as the most populous Black and African nation. It could also be of blessing to Africa along the way through regional cooperation and integration. Any attempt to split Nigeria would risk a total disintegration of political stability and development in West African region, Africa and invariably world at large (Ishola, 2013).
Therefore, there is need for crucial measures to be taken in border patrol considering what happened in the past, for instance, Nigeria/Cameroun border crisis in 1981. With the killing of five Nigerian soldiers on border patrol duty, various segments of the public including political parties, the press, labor union, students‟ organizations, individuals, and even the armed forces, advocated a confrontation with Cameroun (Chuka 2007). The pressure generated by the groups was sufficient to propel the country into war with Cameroun, but it was remarkable that Shagari‟s decision was to avoid belligerency.
According to writers such as Duncan Spidal, Steven J Brams, and D Mare Kilgour are with the notion that game theory base on the use of game model holds important potential to contribute to a unified theory of international relations. It suggests that game theory can contribute to rigorous thought and analysis of critical security problems extending from deterrence to crisis management and arms control. The stronger the assumption of the rationality, the more applicable game theory may be to the development of international relations theory. So also, game theory are said to be applicable across a broad spectrum encompassing political, military, and economic issues that are often treated as fundamentally different from each other but nevertheless contain actors seeking goals reflected in strategies and anticipated payoffs or benefits which can best suitable for this study (Morgenthau, 2006).
Based on a game-theoretic framework, however, in social science, game theory utilizing mathematical specifies what would happen in a situation in which actors each of strategies, goal and preferred outcomes-engage in interaction in the form of a game. Also, the actors agree that the theory with which they deal is addressed to what is rationally correct behavior in situation in which participant are trying to win-to maximize gain or minimize loss rather than to the way they actually may behave in the situation (Morgenthau, 2006).
However, game theory is a way to mathematically model and analyze decision problems with multiple decision makers, including adversarial situations. The approach involves specifying the possible decisions that each player in a game can make, and the outcomes that result from different combinations of actions chosen by each player. Richer game formalisms can account for sequential decisions, uncertainty, asymmetric information, and other complexities. A large number of solution concepts have been developed for predicting behaviors in a game, which in turn can be used to recommend strategies to the players and that is why the need for game theory applied for the study (Camerer and Colin, 2003).
An important feature of game theory for security domains is the use of randomized strategies. In security domains like border patrolling, adversaries (example, transnational criminal organizations) are constantly using surveillance to gather intelligence about security operations to adapt their actions to avoid detection and interdiction. If security operations, such as patrols, are too predictable, it makes it easy for adversaries to learn patterns in the security operations that can be exploited. Using randomization can be an effective way to improve the efficiency of security policies, and game- theoretic models can be used to identify the right ways to randomize for a specific problem based on predicting the adversaries‟ responses to security policies. Border patrol unlike surveillance is a highly complex domain, with extremely large strategy spaces and factors such as varying vehicle capabilities and terrain features to consider in the models. The analysis of such problems using game theory is very challenging from both a modeling and computational perspective (Morgenthau, 2006).
However, one can also use a simulation tool called GAMMASys. The tool uses multi-agent simulations to study the game, including the use of genetic algorithms to approximate optimal strategies and Monte Carlo techniques to approximate the interdiction rate for different combinations of strategies. Using these simulation techniques will allows us to model relatively large areas, varying terrain, multiple vehicle types, multiple patrolling agents, and other realistic features. One can also use GAMMASys to support visualization of the simulations and resulting strategies (Camerer and Colin, 2003).
GAMMASys (Genetic Algorithm for a Map-based Multi-Agent System) is a multi-agent simulation tool based on game theory and genetic algorithms for analyzing patrolling strategies. It has three main features that provide a unique combination of capabilities. First, it supports analysis and visualization of patrolling strategies for a relatively complex domain model that captures a large physical area with varying terrain types and multiple mobile agents with different capabilities and movement speeds. The strategies of both the patrolling and evading agents can be capture using randomized policies on a hexagonal grid. Second, the explicitly model can accounts for the adversarial interactions between the players by using a game-theoretic framework. This leads to the use of randomized, unpredictable strategies to keep the opponent guessing. Third, the solution methods are based on genetic algorithms and simulation. While these techniques cannot guarantee optional solutions, they are highly scalable and allow for analysis of much more complex scenarios than can be solved with optimal game- theoretic solution algorithms. Game model has multiple agents, including both patrolling (defending) agents and evading (attacking) agents. The patrolling agents (i.e., border patrollers) attempt to capture the evading agents (smugglers) before the evading agents can reach their goal. The game will allow hexagonal grid that models the movement of the agents in different dimensional physical areas (Camerer and Colin, 2003).
For example in the case of the user interface for GAMMASys, including a sample scenario. If a 16×16 grid is shown as an overlay to a real satellite map image of a border area taken from Google Maps. Where the grid squares have different colors (encoded by the user) that represent different kinds of terrain for instance, grassland, water, desert, etc.). Both agent types can have different transportation types (e.g., foot, car, boat, etc.), and the movement speed of the agent depends both on the vehicle type and the terrain. The defender cannot communicate with other defenders and cannot detect the attacker except by occupying the same grid space. The game ends when either the defender captures the attacker, or the attacker reaches its target node. Similarly, there are two different preferences for the attacker. Attackers prefer both to reach the target without being caught, and to reach the target by the shortest possible route. This behavior can be controlled by a caution parameter, with more cautious attackers placing a higher weight on evading capture (Camerer and Colin, 2003).
Border surveillance and transnational terrorism management
Conceptually, “surveillance” can be viewed from different perspectives. In the context of this study, surveillance is explained as the activity of gathering information on individuals by security agencies within and across the Nigeria- Niger border as a strategy to managing transnational terrorism. First, it includes human and technological gazing where officials watch the physical movements and activities of persons. Second, surveillance involves the acquisition of personal data (Romero, 2003). This includes the collection of biographical, biometric, or transactional data on individuals harvested from personal communications, electronic transactions, identifiers, records, or other documents. In the former, observations can be used for identification or may act to advance an investigation as a component of a larger body of evidence, as in the case of CCTV data. The latter involves voice or documentary information that can be used in criminal investigations or prosecutions (Romero, 2003). Hence, the meaning given to border surveillance here is the collective action of official gathering of information on persons for the stated purpose of preventing crime and transnational terrorism or prosecuting offenders. As the police gather more personal information through surveillance, search, and seizure, a greater number of persons come within their official purview vis-à-vis suspicion profiles, threat assessments, or specific investigations (Romero, 2003). While it has been found that strong technological in border management is key, it is not clear in the context of Nigeria- Niger border setup whether a similar scenario exists.
Views of surveillance and privacy have changed dramatically in recent years. Some commentators assert that the U.S. has experienced a progressive shift in the balance between police surveillance authority and individual privacy rights (Chang, 2003). Others cite the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 as a watershed event that provided the catalyst for the widening of police surveillance and search authority (Posner, 2003). The record is replete with examples of U.S. official responses to perceived public safety threats that have precipitated an increase in police surveillance activity (Besteman, 2009). However, Nigeria- Niger border faced with modern transnational crime and terrorism, operating in a technologically fluid global environment, the extant official strategy obligates the police to ensure greater public safety under increasingly unpredictable circumstances of porous borders (Posner, 2003). In what Cole (2003:13) refers to as “preventive law enforcement,” the legal and operational response has been to use greater surveillance to reduce threats and prosecute transnational offenders. Since the police often lack the manpower and technical expertise to keep pace with global terrorists and criminals, O’Harrow (2005) notes that security agencies need to widen their surveillance capability by collaborating with private commercial enterprises and collective synergy among security agencies to obtain personal data on the public. Yet, surveillance capabilities for Nigeria- Niger border in light of security-based diplomacy in managing transnational terrorism require further analyses and hence the need for the study.
The importance of border surveillance in counterterrorism
Borders serve many vital functions. All legitimate cargo trade passes over these borders, generating customs and other revenues and duties. In this sense, the borders facilitate the flow of trade, which is increasingly important to national economy. Borders are also a choke point for monitoring the arrival and departure of people (Carafano, 2004). Mitsilegas (2005) points out that the recent years have witnessed calls for the intensification of surveillance and monitoring of the movement of people globally. These calls, led in particular by the US after the 9/11 events, were also echoed in EU Member States. This intensification of surveillance of movement, realized by both widening (by increasing the transmission of data) and deepening (by introducing biometrics) controls, appears to be at odds with the minimization of checks within many nation (Mitsilegas, 2005). However, some scholars (Haggertyand, 2010) argue that the standards it entails, but also the manner in which these standards have been proposed and adopted, further raise a number of questions regarding legitimacy, democracy and the protection of fundamental rights.
Surveillance and protection is intended to enable security measures to be taken in the event of threats of risks aimed at individual people, objects or services. The point of departure is safe and unhindered functioning (Haggerty and Ericson, (2010). However, Ginsburg (2006) notes that the term security covers all measures, both policy-related and operational, which focus on preventing attacks on people, objects or services, whether during events or in a specific area, such as an airport. Compared to security, surveillance is more preventive, for example in the form of cameras or guard posts (Ginsburg, 2006). Despite the literature on border surveillance, an understanding of this phenomenon is important in the Nigerian context, given the shift towards security-based diplomacy in managing transnational terrorism.
Travel and various forms of migration constitute a growing challenge with regard to the monitoring interstate state external borders. From the point of view of counterterrorism, these borders must be guarded strategically enough that terrorists wanting to execute their plans do not have an opportunity to pass these borders without being detected (Ginsburg, 2006). At the same Ford (2005) points out that states have an economic interest in the rapid processing of passenger flows. It goes without saying that border surveillance and patrol is a field of work that requires close cooperation with other states and international partners. Despite this mandate, achieving an effective close border cooperation for Nigeria and Niger in the midst of the more challenging transnational terrorism threat is still a work in progress.
According to Ball and Webster (2005), terrorist networks are organized and oriented at international level. Actions are, for example, prepared in one country but executed in another. It is very important to terrorists that they can move about freely. Adequate border patrol and surveillance functions as an obstacle to the cross border methods of terrorists and terrorist organizations. Within the framework of counterterrorism, proper information exchange between intelligence and security services, an adequate local detection capacity and a specific assessment of incoming and outgoing people are very important.
Strategies employed in open border control
The process of securing borders can never be complete, because the environment is too complex and the volume of activity is too great. Carafan (2004) notes that it is prudent to consider what the future of border security might hold as well trends and what issues of policy each country is likely to confront. However, Rosenblum et al., (2013) observe that understanding border risks begins with identifying key threats. Various strategies in open border control entail surveillance, patrols, joint control operations, information exchange and intelligence gathering and assessment. At their roots, border-related threats are closely linked to the flow of people (travelers) and goods (cargo) from one country to another. Any smuggled item or individual hidden among the legitimate flows potentially constitutes a threat to security or interests. The intentions and actions of unauthorized travelers separate them into different threat categories, including terrorists, transnational criminals, and other illegal migrants. Illegal goods are distinguished by their inherent legitimacy or illegitimacy. Certain weapons, illegal drugs, and counterfeit goods are always illegal and categorically prohibited, while other goods are legal under most circumstances, but become illegitimate if they are smuggled to avoid enforcement of specific laws, taxes, or regulations (Rosenblum et al., 2013). Indeed, while efforts towards securing cross-border activities have been enhanced, the transnational nature of terrorism seems to evolve and thus a need for more research on the strategy of border patrol and surveillance strategies in the management of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger. Similarly, the diversity of border threats and the complexity of border security and border management mission create challenges for border security policymaking and planning (Narayan, 2014). These challenges are amplified by the uncertainty and fear surrounding many border threats. Rather than attempting specific predictions about where, when, and how border threats will be realized, analysts often rely on risk management as an approach to border security, and on probabilistic risk models as a framework for analyzing and describing different types of potential threats (Narayan, 2014).
Migration controls and management of transnational terrorism
Migration controls have become an increasingly important component of counter-terrorism policy over the last few years (Lugna, 2006). After the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, strengthening cooperation on migration controls was identified amongst various actions to be taken, but was not given any priority. For instance, at the global level, in the case of EU, Martin (2006) points out that it is only after the terrorist attacks in Madrid in March 2004 that it was identified as a strategic objective in the EU fight against terrorism. Since then, this dimension of the counter-terrorism policy has continued to grow in importance. This trend is set to continue in the future, as a significant number of proposals regarding migration control measures are currently being negotiated in the EU (Lugna, 2006). However, the development of these initiatives has not been justified by any systematic analysis of the success of migration controls as a counter-terrorism instrument, especially in the developing nations like Nigeria and Niger.
From the viewpoint of counterterrorism, counterespionage, and law enforcement authorities, the borders of states have historically presented rare opportunities to detect and intercept adversaries, who are forced to surface at this point and engage with governmental authorities (Ford, 2005). When terrorist adversaries transit official access points they must take measures to conceal themselves that provide governments and their security partners with opportunities to detect and disrupt them. Ginsburg (2006) argues that legal entry channels visa offices and official ports of entry at land, air, and sea access points located before and at national frontiers are therefore newly critical infrastructure for counterterrorism. They are also critical for responding to pandemics and other security threats and for the safe and efficient management of trade and travel (Ginsburg, 2006). Despite this interest, however, it is difficult to gauge what is actually happening at the border points between Nigeria and Niger and thus the need for more research was needed on the border surveillance strategies in the management of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger.
Strategies employed in patrol and surveillance of the land open border
Border wall as a strategy in counterterrorism
The concept of border security has undergone a sea change with the growing vulnerability of the coastline and also of the airspace. Various countries have employed this strategy of constructing physical barriers as walls as a security measure. For example, in an attempt to prevent crime and illegal migration, American government has embarked on construction of border wall between USA and Mexico, Saudi Arabia began construction on a 600-mile “Great Wall” along its border with Iraq. Reportedly intended to protect the kingdom from “Islamic State”/ISIS militants, the project was first proposed during Iraq’s civil war in 2006.The nascent barrier was already tested in early January when ISIS militants attacked a border post at Arar, reinforcing officials’ conviction that the kingdom must be insulated from the chaos engulfing its northern neighbor. This is not the first time Riyadh has sought to secure its borders with a long wall. In 2013, it began construction on a 1,100-mile security barrier along the southwestern border in response to heightened sectarian conflict in Yemen. (Segawa and Gilkes, 2015). While these studies explore states‟ efforts to develop a coordinated approach in border management, literature on border patrol and surveillance and control of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger is sparse.
Border communities and transnational terrorism management
Another key factor that is useful for border management is the inclusion of border communities in the management of the borders. At the local level, most border management efforts do not take advantage of border communities (Kaunert, 2010). in addition, Lamptey (2010) posits that the local community usually has intimate knowledge of the terrain, the criminal syndicates, meeting places and other security issues. Nevertheless, they are not always involved in managing the borders. Their inclusion and incorporation of local perspectives is useful in informing state actors of the threats in the border areas. The gaps created by these omissions are filled by transnational criminal networks and smugglers especially now that the federal government has banned importation of goods. Thus, border agencies must actively involve the local community thereby earning their trust and gradually reducing their reliance and connivance on other non-state groups (Lamptey, 2010). While these authors point to community role in border management, it is important to consider this issue in the local context given the significant impact of border communities in Nigeria and Niger in transnational terrorism management.
According to Ginsburg (2006), developing the roles and responsibilities of border personnel so they are effectively engaged in what have been viewed as exclusively intelligence and crime control functions will require adjusting training and career paths among border agencies, between intelligence and screening units, and between agencies primarily dedicated to border functions and full- time intelligence agencies. Similarly, to equip border officers and transit points today with the information and process tools needed to attack terrorist mobility can only be accomplished through a combination of terrorist-specific tools.
Challenges and obstacles in border security and counterterrorism
While a great deal of progress is evident, significant challenges and obstacles remain in improving border management and security. Responses to border management challenges in West Africa, for example, at the ECOWAS level, there are some protocols and regulations that provide for interventions on border management. The 1999 ECOWAS Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security, for instance, under Article 46, talks about control of cross-border crime but makes little mention of related areas of border management (Bassey and Oshita, 2008). The ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons of 2006 under Article 22 also encourages the strengthening of border controls through sub regional cooperation and capacity building but, understandably, it stops short of prescribing a more comprehensive border management strategy such as the AU‟s draft strategy. The ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework in turn emphasizes cross-border initiatives (parradang, 2014), as a means of reducing tensions, fighting cross-border crime and enhancing community welfare, among other concerns. Despite these responses to border management, the border patrol and surveillance strategies in the control of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger beg for more research and hence such a study. Lamptey (2010) further argues that despite the challenges and threats posed by border insecurity, there is a lack of a common approach in terms of policy formulation, at the national and sub-regional levels. The AU‟s strategy, therefore, offers the blueprint from which ECOWAS and national governments can formulate their own context-specific strategies for a more integrated regional response to the challenges of border management.
Results and Discussions
The findings established that border patrol and surveillance plays a critical role in the management of transnational terrorism. This intensification of surveillance of movement, however, is at odds with the minimization of checks and porosity of the borders, which have been blamed for the Boko Haram and like mind strategic attacks in Nigeria and Niger. The findings established that technological advancements in border surveillance were rated to be weak. From the findings, majority from both Nigeria and Niger view Nigeria‟s strategy of closing its border as a short-term strategy that cannot solve underlying problems of terrorism especially with the recent attacks on border communities especially in North Western states. Strategies employed in patrol and surveillance of the land open border has not been effective and sustainable. Inadequate border security cooperation among the states coupled with high levels of porosity un-demarcated borders, as well as lack of inclusion of comprehensive patrol units in the management of the border security and lack of synergy among the security agents represented major challenges.
The results reveal that, travel and various forms of migration controls constitute a growing challenge with regard to the monitoring of Nigeria-Niger external borders. The findings point to issues of corruption that necessitate issuing of passports and national identity cards to criminals and terrorists. The findings reveal ineffective migration controls and challenge point to the vulnerabilities of Nigeria and Niger efforts to counter terrorism. While surveillance, patrols and physical barriers are common strategies being used, the study established that the involvement of border communities in border security management is low. The inclusion of border communities in the control of the borders was found to be ineffective. At the local level, most border control efforts do not take advantage of border communities and that is why they sabotage the effort of federal government.
Overall, the study’s findings point to the need to adopt a postmodernist approach which advocates for a broadened conceptualization of security that goes beyond a military fixation on transnational terrorism. This means that both Nigeria and Niger governments must broaden counterterrorism measures to include a wide range of state and non-state actors. In addition to counter radicalization, intelligence sharing border patrol and surveillance, other instruments of government can contribute to addressing the broader long-term causes of transnational terrorism and violent extremism, and the conditions in which they thrive.
Border issues like patrol and surveillance or boundary politics remains integral part of citizens‟ livelihood, economic activities, movement of goods, regional cooperation and territorial integrity (sovereignty of any nation) and every approach to its management and proper settlement should take all the risks and benefits into accounts. The contribution of border patrol and surveillance is critical in the control of transnational terrorism. Progress in the homeland security border control has been inconsistent and the extent to which technology adoption is utilized in border surveillance reflects the state capacity to monitor and address underlying cases of corruption and illegal smuggling of goods. Inter-state and local cooperation under border patrol units is still a challenge. Indicators of illegal border crossing and unlawful presence of foreign nationals indicate gaps in the states’ efforts to ensuring strategy open.
Travel and various forms of migration constitute a growing challenge with regard to the monitoring of interstate state external borders. The porosity of Nigeria-Niger border coupled with corruption highlights the challenge of intensifying of stringent migration controls in terms of travel documents which have been blamed for the Boko Haram and its alleys strategic attacks in Nigeria and Niger. The study established that Nigerian strategy of closing border cannot offer a long term strategy in the management control of transnational terrorism. A clear border management system that incorporates border communities with a clear and well-communicated border management system is important in building local capacity in the management of transnational terrorism. The study established gaps in border community involvement in border security management. Overall, the study concluded that border patrol and surveillance strategies are still a work in progress.
Enhance border control technological capacity
The strategies of border surveillance in the control of transnational terrorism in Nigeria and Niger can be achieved through appropriate technologies to land, sea and air cross-border movements. Both governments should therefore fund and support the development of security technologies to open new possibilities in the realms of surveillance, identity management and border control. One strategy would involve employing superior technological systems with instant access to GPS and GIS information should along the borders to allow security agents have a wireless access to location and information. Possible Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), often referred to as drones, should be employed to enhance surveillance across the Nigeria and Niger. This will require the states governments to collaborate on providing additional resources and more funding to border security agencies. The best means by which to tackle border infrastructure problems is through investment by the private sector. Not only would this save government resources, it would allow the private sector to use its knowledge and creativity to design border infrastructure that is commerce friendly without jeopardizing security or sovereignty. The government can encourage the private sector to take these steps in a number of ways, for example, by expanding the protections of the support anti-terrorism by fostering strategy and technologies.
Integrated border patrol strategy
Both Nigeria and Niger governments need to evaluate strategies employed in border security to solve underlying security problems instead of relying on the number of arrests and military might. To achieve this, strategies measures should be implemented towards promoting and strengthening border control agencies cooperation and coordination such as organizational and operational cooperation between Nigeria and Niger border patrol units.
Streamline migration controls
The study established gaps in migration controls across the Nigeria and Niger border points. To ensure effective migration controls, state governments should empower law enforcement and government authorities to monitor and assess security situations with well equipped early warning systems. This can be achieved through using biometric travel documents and the new screening concepts of identity to track international travel with the goals of preventing identity fraud to ensure safety and security of citizens. Both countries must implement stringent measures to rid out corruption in issuing secure travel documents.
Involve border communities in border security plans
Much like state and local governments, private citizens living in border communities recognized the need to take action at the border-because border crimes and illegal immigration were having a direct impact on their neighborhoods and daily lives. The study established that border communities are not fully engaged in border controls. There is need to identify relevant stakeholders involved in border management and the application of controls. One strategy would be for government and security agencies to partner with border communities in raising awareness and increase sharing of relevant information regarding border control as an essential role in countering transnational terrorism. For successful implementation of the integrated border control concept, it is important that Nigeria and Niger security agencies provide coherence among the different communities within and across their borders. Improvents in these areas can help enhance security and immigration systems while also facilitating the cross-border movement of people and border ranchers. While regional cooperation and international support to disrupt insurgencies such as the Boko Haram in North East and bandits in North West is needed, there is need for Nigeria and Niger to work with the community to identify, implement and manage local solutions to local problems and to develop local level resilience. This calls for consolidated research to better understand the factors leading to violent extremism in their countries. This can ensure that their work is evidence-based and appropriate to individual state circumstances.
• Enhance border control technological capacity with cutting-edge security technologies on land, sea, and air cross-border movements.
• Integrated border patrol strategy between Nigeria and Niger governments would help solve underlying security problems instead of relying on the number of arrests and military might.
• Streamline migration controls by using biometric travel documents to track international travels. This would help prevent identity fraud to ensure the safety and security of citizens.
• Involve border communities in border security plans to help strengthen security and immigration systems while facilitating the cross-border movement of people.
About the Author(s):
-Abbas Yakubu -PhD Candidate, Igbinedion University Okada, Nigeria
-Dr. Roosevelt Idehen – Lecturer, Department of International Relations and Strategic Studies
Source: International Journal of Innovative Legal & Political Studies
Keywords: Border, Control, National, Patrol, Security, Surveillance, Strategy and Terrorism.