Border Patrol And Surveillance In The Control Of Transnational Terrorism In Nigeria And Niger – Abbas Yakubu and Dr. Roosevelt Idehen

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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.

Theoretical Framework

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.

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