“As you’re all aware; LBC was created in July 1990 in Maiduguri between Nigeria and Niger by signing an agreement for a joint commission for cooperation,” he said, stating that the objective of cooperation was to promote mutual understating, peace and well-being of people in the communities.
He said the resolution of the committee was ratified by the Council of Ministers at its 40th session on December 15, 2020, in Abuja.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has said that the Nigeria/Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation (NNJCC) is to promote border communities’ mutual understanding and peace.
According to him, the Local Bilateral Committee (LBC) was to identify and propose the implementation of development projects in the Lake Chad Basin.
Mustapha represented by the Permanent Secretary (Political), Andrew Adejo disclosed this on Monday while opening the LBC meeting in Maiduguri at the Government House.
“This is Federal Government’s efforts to maintain a friendly relationship with international communities,” he said.
He noted that the LBC is also to encourage a harmonious relationship in the border areas of the two countries.
While lamenting insecurity in the border areas, he said that the inactivity of LBC has contributed to the increasing rates of terrorism in the frontline states of two member countries.
According to him, the situation has not afforded the stakeholders the opportunity to monitor activities in the border communities.
“It has resulted in the infiltration of small arms and light weapons into Niger and Nigeria,” attributing it to the porous border communities, stretching over 1,500 kilometres in Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe and Zamfara states and Diffa province in Niger.
“Porous borders are serious security threats to terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, illicit trade and robbery,” he said.
Secretary-General of NNJCV, Abm. Rabiu Akawu said that Governor Babagana Zulum that led the LBC was to promote cooperation and relationship between the two countries.
“Today’s meeting is very important because of the 12-year security challenges being faced by the people,” he said.
He, therefore, called for collective efforts of the bottom-top approach with a transboundary synergy and solutions.
According to him, participants should examine the security issue and come up with practical recommendations to the Commission.
He said this could unearth its remote and immediate causes; as well as resolve the problem in the border communities.
The Deputy Governor of Niger, Yahaya Godi assured that the Nigerien government will continue to protect and provide shelter for displaced persons from border communities of Nigeria.
Responding, Zulum, represented by his deputy, Umar Kadafur said that the Commission will address border communities’ infrastructure deficits and enhance the livelihoods of people.
“This is an opportunity for us to repatriate 3, 900 refugees in Diffa and Bosso to Borno state,” he said.