Dr. Abdulbasir AHMAD ATUWO
Department of Nigerian Languages
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
GSM: +234 0703 24922 69


Dr. Sa’adiya OMAR
Center for Hausa Studies
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
GSM: + 234 0806 25154 71

Presented at Scientific Symposium on “Intercommunity Coexistence and Peace Building in the History of Maraxi Region” ( Maraxi Kwalliya December 14th - 16th, 2015).
Maraxi – Niger Republic.


Since before the arrival of colonialists, the people in Niger and communities in Northern Nigeria maintained brotherhood and remained common in terms of their socio-cultural, religious, economic and environmental interaction. After the Europeans struggle and partition of African countries in the Berlin Conference of 1885, the boundary lines were drowned by them which symbolised their sharing and separation of the communities but could not make any remarkable inpact in breaking the brotherly accord between the two countries. This paper therefore analysed aspects of strengthening border security accord with the aim of having sustainable peaceful coexistence among the two countries within their borders and beyond.

1.0 Introduction

The emergence of Nigeria-Niger boundary followed the competitive interest of the Europeans for the acquisition of territories in Africa in the second half of 19th century. European nations convened at Berlin, Germany in 1885 where African countries were partitioned and shared among them according to their interests. Before the intrusion of white-men in African communities, the boundaries of Hausa nation were based on farmlands, levies, traditional titles. Villages and towns were stationed to counter enemies attack across the borders of empires or kingdoms. Example, Nguru was a military cantonment of Kanem Barno Empire against attacks from neighbouring borders. Similarly Wurno in Sokoto was military base against any invasion to the caliphate headquarters. The Berlin conference was facilitated by the Europeans particularly Britain, France and Germany to claim the expansion of their power on the African communities. The desire to struggle and partition the African countries however, facilitated another need treaty between Britain and French. The Anglo-French treaty as it was called was reached in 1890 and it agreed on provisional straight line as boundary between Nigeria-Niger borders. But in the 1898 Convention, the straight line pattern of boundary was changed to fluctuating pattern as it exist up to now. Beacons and poles were used in the demarcation of boundaries. From 1906 to 1908, Captain Tilho and Major O’shee surveyed the boundaries, and planted of 148 beacons to the spots indicating where Nigeria ended and where Niger began in Daura zone.

1.2 Historical Origin of Maradi

Before the 19th century jihad in Hausaland led by Usmanu Danfodiyo, Maradi was an integral part of Katsina, since the mid Seventeenth century (Sani, 2006: 98) there was a predominantly non-muslim population around Maradi, Gazawa and Tasawa, the people were not completely integrated the muslim population of Katsina. The region is so vast which comprises eight divisions going by the current territorial division these includes Aguie, Berma, Dakoro, Gazaoua, Gidan Roumji, Madarounfa, Mayahi, Tessaoua and Maradi Metropolis. It is bordered to the East by Zinder Region, to the West by Tahoua, and to the North by Tahoua and Agadez and in the South by the Federal Republic of Nigeria notably Katsina and Zamfara states.
Maradi is the third largest city in Niger and serve as an administrative centre of Maradi region. It become independent in the 19th century, Maradi was home to one of the several Hausa traditional remnant states, formed by rulers who fled the rise of the Sokoto Caliphate. Katsina ruling class continued to claim the area as the seat of Katsina Exile state ruled by the Sarkin Katsinan Maradi.

1.2 Definition of Terms

Before dwelling deep in the paper, there is need to provide conceptual definition of the two key words, Border and Security.
1.2.1 Border: According to Oxford Dictionary, border refers to a boundary between two countries or other areas. In Wikipedia, border is defined as geographical boundary of political entity or legal jurisdiction such as governmental, sovereign states, federated states and other entities.

1.2.2 Security: Is a state of being secured or in other words, security refers to the safety of a state or organization from terrorism or similar activity. While according to the Wikipedia, security is the degree of resistance to or protection from harm, it applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset such as person, dwelling, community, item, nation of organization. The concept of security has been categorized to : 1.), I.T Security, 2.) Physical Security, 3.) Political Security and 4.) Monetary Security, while this paper dwells within the political security as it involves national security of two nations. Political Security: Comprise National Security, Public Homeland State and Human Security; Monetary Security: Economic Security, Financial and Social Security. This paper dwells within the political security as it analyses the border security of the two neighbouring countries.

2.0 Relationship between Borders and Security of the State

The border relationship and security management among states involves many arms of security agents and approaches, these arms includes immigration, Customs, Police, Military (intelligent), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Prison Service (prison warders); and border villages and wards heads. These are the security agents that checkmates Nigerian - Nigerien border security along side with the Nigerien security Agents such as police, gendarmerie, and douone.
3.0 Essence of Security Presence
The essence of security presence in the Nigerian-Niger borders differ from one agency to another. The paper looks at the role of some of these agencies.
1. Immigration: Their presence in the border is to protect the interest of their nation by ensuring legal or lawful transaction. They are in charge of issuing visa, permits (yellow card) passport and deportation when the need arises.
2. Customs: They are the agency that check contraband and illegal trading or smuggling activities between Nigeria-Niger Borders. They issue valuable documents for importation and exportation business transactions like custom duty, tariff etc. They also handle and arrest smugglers and smuggled material.
3. Police: The presence of police in border posts and related places is to prevent and handle criminal activities in the border or immediate arrest of culprits. It is also part of their responsibilities to stop any potential violence outbreak into their nations.
4. Prison Service: They have no statutory functions at borders but they can be asked to appear for adhoc security service any time the need arises.
5. State Security Service: Their presence at the border is very vital, because they sense and respond to any security threat for commuter alertness.
6. National Drugs and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA): They check the importation hard drugs into the country. Their roles are to arrest the goods and the importers and hand him over the police to array him before the court.
7. Military: Military personnel were also found at designated border gates for intelligent, security and defence mission
8. Border Villages and Wards Heads: The village heads at the borders play very important role in border security management. They easily identify strangers among their people. They also resolve several conflicts and disputes not only among their people but also between security agents and civilians at the borders.

3.0 Gates and Check- Points

This paper called them border check-points because they are the gates that were recognized by the government. All arms of security agents re positioned here to perform their duties. These are places were valuable documents such as yellow card, visa, custom duty are issued to people crossing border under normal transaction. These kinds of gates between Nigerian and Niger are classified into three:
1. Border gates
2. Control post
3. Patrol Base and check- points
3.1 Border gates: These are the gates mainly recognized by governments and putting in place all security agents and their facilities for endorsement and issuance. There are only three Border Gates in the entire Nigeria-Niger Border are only three and they are:
1. Katsina , Jibiya-Maraxi
2. Sokoto, Illela-Qonni
3. Kebbi Kamba-Gaya

All official document for international travelling are issued at these places. The immigration/team and custom were headed by the rank of Assistant Controller while police were headed by Assistant Superintendent. Assistant Director, heads, the State Security Service Men. Military Sergeants are usually stationed here. Each of these border gates comprises of these sets of security agents to ensure secured and peaceful border. The distance between Nigeria and Niger border gates is almost a kilometre. This is attributable to security dispute-free consciousness between the two countries.

3.2 Control Post

These are mini-border gates that are placed in most of the border towns between Nigeria and Niger. Number of immigrations and other security agents are found there but not as many as in the border gates. These are places that could likely be used by illegal immigrants and smugglers. The responsibility of security agents at those control posts is to make migrants follow the right routes and curtail other criminal activities in such areas.

3.3 Patrol Base and Check-Points

Apart from the control post that are mounted at some border towns, there are patrol base and check points. These check-points have patrol teams of military and paramilitaries and can be seen everywhere in the country. Nigeria witnessed increase of patrol by all arms of security agents and intensification of check up at check points due to the increase in security challenges in Nigeria and her neighbouring countries.
3.4 Identifying Culprits at Border Check-points
Security personnel at the borders have different methods and approaches which they use in detecting culprits. This paper identifies the following ways: 1.Natural Structure 2. Artificial Marks 3.Psychological Method 4.Language Method.

1. Natural Structure: People in this world differ in their races and cultures, Example; some people are black while others are white in complexion, straight or curly hair, pointing or hock nose, tallness or shortness, etc. All these are some of the factors used in determining citizens or none citizens.
2. Artificial or Tribal Marks: Most of the immunisation programmes are done through vaccination. In Nigeria, most of the vaccinations ares done on the upper part of the left hand but other countries like Niger Republic do their vaccination on the lower part of arms. So also the tribal marks, which assist security agents at the border to identify the citizenship of the suspect easily. Example, Yoruba tribal marks are unique among Yoruba communities in western Nigeria; while Kabawa, Zamfarawa and Gobirawa tribal marks are commonly found among the communities found in both Nigeria and Niger Republic.
3. Psychological Methods: This is the method in which the security intimidates or threatens the suspect to reveal his real identity. Sometimes jokes too are applied by security to make suspect reveal his true picture of identity.
4. Language Method: Another way through which immigration personnel detect the identity of the suspect is by language. They use the terminological differences between English and French Hausa borrowed words. Example:
English French Hausa
Key Cle Maqulli
Mattress Metalas Katifa
Brahune / Kerosine Essence Barahuni/ Kalanzir/Kero
If they too want identify the country the person is coming from, they will ask him give the name of any one of the above object. Once he talks, they understand whether the man comes from English or French speaking country like Nigeria or Niger

4.0Nigeria-Niger Border Towns and Villages

The paper went further to elaborate border towns and villages between Nigeria and Niger in order to have the direction of our discussion.
4.1 Katsina State - Maraxi (border Towns/Villages)
1. Jibiya
2. Jibiya Magama
3. Dankama
4. Kwangwalam
5. Babban Mutum
6. Mai’aduwa
7. Zango
8. Agangaro
9. Kladobe
10. Mazanya
11. Shargalle
12. Maikole
13. Gidan Batsari
14. Koza
15. Pago
16. Kauri
17. Tsayau
18. Tashen Kaima
19. ‘Yardaji
20. Buzaye
21. Birnin Kuka
22. Kaita
23. Bumbum
4.2 Illela/Sokoto (Nigeria) - Qonni (Niger)
Illela- Qonni (Niger)
1. Sabon Birni
2. Ruwa Wuri
3. Gada
4. Kalgo
5. Sauro
6. Bachaka
7. Tashar Bagaruwa
8. Yarbulutu
9. Maruwa
10. Birjingo
11. Gidan Dubu
12. Burkusum

4.3 Kebbi (Nigeria) - Niger
Kamba (Kebbi) - Gaya (Niger)

1. Tsamiya
2. Dole Kaina
3. Kangiwa
4. Bagudo
5. Bachaka
6. Bunza
7. Yauri
8. Maje
9. Kingakwai
4.4 Zamfara State (Nigeria) - Niger border towns/villages
Kauran Namoda
1. Gidan Jaja
2. ‘Yankara
3. Gurbin Baure
4.5 Jigawa State- Niger border towns and villages
1. Gumel
2. Vavura
3. Maigatari
4. Birniwa
5. Kuri Kasamma
6. Macina
7. Suletankarkar

5.0 Short Comings in the Borders/Check Points

The short comings that exist in Nigeria/Niger Borders are many but the one that threatens the security of the two nations is the concern of this paper. The major shortcomings is bribery and corruption. Bribery has become a very common accusation by the public against the security at the main gates, control posts and check points, other shortcomings are illegal routes and political factors.
5.1 Bribery and Corruption
This is one of the major problems that continue to affect the performance of the security agents at the border gates. Corruption problem has become a world phenomenon that threatens the development of many aspects of human endeavours such as socio-economic, educational, political, security and civil service. Nigeria is rated as 35th out of 85 countries with problem of collecting money from offenders or culprits.

5.2 Illegal Routes

Diversion and illegal routes are the ways through which contra-based smugglers, defaulters and even criminals of prison escape crossing one country to another like Nigeria and Niger through this kind of illegal routes.

5.3 Political Factor

Influential politicians can used their influence to do unconstitutional activities example: person may be declared wanted by authority for one reason or the other, and he can be allowed to cross the border. Politicians use neighbouring border people by providing them with fake voters card to ridge election.
All these shortcomings can be overcome with commitment and dedication of authourities of the two countries. Example, President Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria is recognized wold-wide with his anti corruption campaign, and he is gaining support from international communities, civil servants, civil organisations politicians and security agents. If he can combine effort with Nigerien president Mahamadou Issofou, and other neighbouring countries these problems can be minimized.

6.0 Border Patrol

Border patrol is very important, the patrol which usually combine different security agents including vigilant. In Nigeria the name J.T.F. has become so popular among security agents, it refers to Joint Task Force which comprised of military and paramilitary and civilian vigilantes. The patrol could be a joint patrol with Niger, if Nigeria/Niger would expand their joint effort in fighting Boko Haram in Diffa - Chad zone to other major border gates and control posts. The effort will make a lot of impact in maintaining peace in/out borders. Border patrol has been a strong tool used by joint force of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and Benin Republic, since Buhari takes over; the activities of insurgency have reduced to minimum.

7.0 Boarder Insecurity and Emergence of Boko Haram

Since the arrest and subsequent murder of Saddam Hussain of Iraq and Mummar Gaddafi of Libya, their elimination developed a syndrome of spread of over three million heavy and dangerous weapons in midle east and Africa. This precipitated the development of insurgent armed groups like ISIS, in Iraq, Syria etc and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, etc and Murabitun (Alqaeeda branch) in Mali, Alshabab in Somalia and Christian/Muslim crisis in Central Africa Republic (CAR).
These crisis engulfed over a million lives and destroyed property worth billions of dollar. The external support and reinforcement to the insurgent groups have continued to influence the persistent atrocities of bloodshed and endless kidnap and human destruction. Example
A report that Boko Haram insurgents attacked Maimalari town on Wednesday 31st December, 2014 and took away forty (40) children ranging from 10-12 years of age.
Another report in “Leadership newspaper” revealed that, Military raid at Sambisa forest rescued two hundred and fourteen 214 pregnant girls by the insurgents. Since the inception of Muhammadu Buhari’s government, the North-Eastern communities of Nigeria, and their neighbours in Diffa, Niger Republic and parts of Northern Cameroon and Chad have indicated their appreciation of drastic reduction of insurgent activities.

8.0 Conclusion

Conclusively, we observed that, the present security accord or joint security forces that involved Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin Republic have made positive impact in reducing the threat of insecurity in our borders which should have been in place many years before now. At list for the mutual understanding, maintenance of peaceful and secured neighbourhood.
We use this avenue to however condole all the relatives of those who lost their lives as a result of insecurity and insurgent attacks, we also condole our governments, but we know a tree cannot make a forest, and population is powerful, this accord which was initiated by Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria and supported by his good neighbours Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and Paul Via of Camaroon, Idris Devy of Chad and Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, should continue forever even after the extermination of Boko Haram. For the insurgents, we want them to comprehend this wise saying that says: “whoever destroys to succeed will certainly meet destruction on their way to success”


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Turn horizontal (right side) to view Nigeria/ Niger Borders. Culled from YAKASAI, (1999)


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