Migration Along Jibia-Maradi Corridor of Nigeria-Niger Border: Issues in Security and Development Since 1960

This article is published in Sokoto Journal of History, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2021. Check below to download a PDF of the complete article.

DOI: 10.36349/sokotojh.2021.v10i01.012


Sha’aban Magaji
Department of History and War Studies Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna
+234 803 652 9231


Safiya Abu Wada
Department of History and War Studies Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna Sawadaabu@nda.edu.ng


The establishment of colonial rule led to the creation of new artificial borders one of which is Jibiya-Maradi border. This border was established by Anglo-French agreement in the early 20th century. The border demarcation was achieved after series of intense negotiations in 1906. It also cut across many established pattern of communication and divided many communities. Since after the creation of the boundary there has been migration from French to British controlled territory. In fact, the movement of population was encouraged by the differences between the French and British colonial administrations. These movements, most of which occurred during the early period of colonial domination considerably changed the pattern of population distribution along Jibiya- Maradi border. This movements and settlements of population adjacent to the boundary created consciousness for cross-border relations. The implication of such consciousness was the infiltration of undesirable elements that instigated various security challenges threatening cross-border relations among the communities proximate to the borderlands. The paper attempt to provide nexus between community border relations and the issues of security and development vis-à-vis the Jibiya- Maradi of Nigeria-Niger border.

Key Words: Migration, Nigeria, Niger, borderlands, Security.



Migration along the Jibiya-Maradi border became more dichotomous especially after the completion of treaties on boundary adjustment by the colonial powers. It was after the signing of the various Anglo-French treaties 1890-1900 along the Northern frontiers of Nigeria- Niger borders that population started a gradual migration to re-occupy the depopulated frontier. This continued throughout the colonial era, especially before the Second World War. In fact, throughout the Colonial era politically motivated migrations from Maradi region into some parts of Katsina area were persistent and wide spread. The effect of this migration trend was the establishment of settlements and villages along the boundary. Cross-border migration therefore, is a most dynamic feature of population distribution in the Jibiya-Maradi axis. It is thus a normal process of interaction without barrier even with the forceful partition of the continent between the western capitalist

powers which paved the way for colonization.1During colonization, migration was not significantly altered in the area, either as a result of forceful separation of kith and kin into different countries nor was the native language tempered with.

With the advent of colonialism, Nigeria came to be bonded on every side by French speaking contries. Even Cameroun is not entirely Anglophone as the greater part speaks French. Despite this enriching arrangement, migration has never been a subject of state policy in sub – region until after independence. The changing economic fortune of the various countries have attracted notable mobility in the direction of economically buoyant countries and the downturns have called for state policies to stem migration which in some cases have boiled down to large scale deportation. Theoretically, Nigeria and all the countries sharing borders with her with the exception of Cameroun are all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); in which case, the citizens of these countries are to enjoy freedom of movement. Notwithstanding, migration became a subject of state policy especially for Nigerian authority with the increased rate of criminality record at the borders which come in form of smuggling, trafficking (Drug and Human), religious carnage fuelled by imported extremism and the resulting death of innocent Nigerians and threat to state security and stability.3The main focus of the paper is to analyze how illegal migration in the Jibiya-Maradi border area contributes to the growing wave of insecurity vis- à-vis the bilateral relation between the two countries and the paper further proper the ways to mitigate the problems.

Conceptual and Theoretical discussion

Conceptually, the United Nations Conference on Trading and Development (UNCTAD, 2018) described migration as a movement of a person or a group of person either across an international border or within a State. Essentially, it is a population movement/migration, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes migration of refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants and persons moving for other purposes, including family unification. In other words, Merriam-Webster (2013) simply describes it as the ease people made from one area to another in search of opportunities, protection and economic viability. It is affirmed that some of these movements made across the illegal border routes seemed to have been precipitated with scores of migrants‘ ease with contraband goods or been a culprit of offence(s) committed. Again, plethora of studies on criminology revealed that crime (terror) is a social event that does not exist or take place in a vacuum. Crime takes place in social environment replete with other forms of anomalies, such as severe unemployment, chronic poverty, socio-economic and political inequalities, discrimination, drug and alcohol abuse, pervasive family vendetta, inadequate socialisation practices, degeneration of values, declining roles of traditional social institutions.

The history of the international boundaries of Nigeria as discussed by Anene (1970) underscores the influence of the factor of ―diplomatic game‖ between France and Britain in the creation of Nigerias borders. Prior to the European partition of African territories, the various states and kingdoms had frontiers in the form of zones of varying width. As argued elsewhere by Asiwaju (2001) that despite the partition and divisions across the borders, local communities in different places continued to defy colonial legacies in favour of the cultural affinities of the past upon which they built an enduring socio-economic relationship that had contributed to the development of their societies through interdependence. Further studies have shown that one of the consequences of modern boundaries was the opportunity and power with which the colonial state used to appropriate the resources in the territory under its control to the exclusion of everyone else including the indigenous population. Movement across the new borders attracted sanctions by the colonial authorities in order to ensure full control of the land and the people. The borderland communities had been separated and local economies operated on the basis of cross-border arrangement (Oculli 2009). Migration was the available alternative for the colonized peoples to move to another territory especially in a situation where the colonial policy was harsh. Migrations from Niger into the Nigerian territory were a common phenomenon because of a combination of natural and colonial factors. Some migrants avoided the harsher dry environment while some avoided heavy taxation and other harsh policies like on labour which was common in French territories.(Crowder, 1976; Asiwaju, 1976).

While drawing case study from Nigeria and her neighbours, Collins (2009), explained that the changing economic fortunes in the 1980s have attracted notable mobility in the direction of economically buoyant countries in West Africa. Thus, as from the middle of the 1980s, illegal cross-border migration becamed intensified due to economic downturn. (Barkindo, 2007; Afolayan 2008; Ikwuyatum 2012). While there was influx of citizens of other West African countries into Nigeria that persisted in the 1980s, the situation started to assume a crisis dimension following the introduction of structural adjustment policies that had adverse effect on employment generation. Nigeria began to take decisive measures to revamp the economy and among the measures also was a review of immigration policies. The 1980s witnessed the cracking down on illegal migrant (Barkindo, 2007). Furthermore, the harsh economic conditions had forced many Nigerians to migrate to other parts of the world for better life. According to Lipede (2007) since 2000 there had been changes in the pattern of internal migration in West Africa. Movement of emigrants shifted to the north with many of the migrants looking up to Europe through northern states of Nigeria bordering Niger Republic as possible exit points for migration to Europe across the Sahara Desert. Most of the migrants began to use Nigeria and Niger (whose boundaries appear to be very porous owing to their ethnic and historical ties) as a transit destination towards Europe through North Africa.

It is on this premise that we look at proximity to border as an important reason that facilitate cross- border movement with increase in criminal activities along the Nigeria-Niger borderland. This paper therefore, employs the concept of geographic proximity‘, which is defined as the extent of closeness of nations to each other physically. The concept of geographic proximity is said to be the top most factor of interaction among nations (Asiwaju, 1992:34). Other factors such as complementarities, intervening opportunities and transferability are also critical determining forces of relations between states. They can also promote and affect spatial interactions between places (Koko, 1992:180). These factors are reflected along the Nigeria-Niger border areas, particularly when the interdependence and interaction between the two settlements is taken in to consideration. Similarly, both concepts of complementarity and transferability are dependent upon the geographic proximity.   This is because when nations are close to each other physically, they are likely to interact and perceive their mutual importance.

Nigeria’s Border Policy Issues since 1960

Nigeria‘s border relations with her neighbours have been guided by what the foreign policy makers refer to as ‗National interests‘ of Nigeria. In principle, these national interests are primarily associated with the provisions on "fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy", which are contained in Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). While Article 14 (1-2) presents the philosophical or ideological justification of the Nigerian State, Article 19 states the foreign policy objectives of Nigeria to be:

(a)          Promotion and protection of the national interest; (b) promotion of African integration and support for African unity; (c) promotion of international co-operation for the consolidation of universal peace and mutual respect among all nations and elimination of discrimination in all its manifestations; (d) respect for international law and treaty obligations as well as the seeking of settlement of international disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and adjudication; and ( e) promotion of a just world economic order. In fact, these interests have been derived from the Independence Constitution that came into operation on 1st October, 1960 when the country‘s independence was achieved (Ashafa, 2018:86).

Nigeria‘s relationship with her mainly Franco-phone neighbours is predicated on what has been described as the historically ill-defined and improperly delimitation of boundaries in the West- African sub region by the erstwhile European colonial masters (Omede 2006). The highly porous and easily permeable nature of these boundaries, coupled with the lack of a coordinated and coherent boundary policy by Nigeria and the governments of contiguous states‘ accounts for the lukewarm and sometimes, frosty relations between Nigeria and her immediate neighbours. Again, in spite of Nigeria‘s frosty relations with France, it has made it a policy to remain faithful and supportive of its Francophone neighbours who since independence have maintained strongly visible political, cultural, military and economic affinities with France. Nigeria‘s policy of restrain in its relationship with its neighbours, in spite the often open provocation especially the series of exploitation of Nigeria‘s natural and economic resources and sometimes the encroachment on her territorial frontiers, apart from other economic sabotage says much about the guiding principles restraints and caution in the national interests of foreign policy of the country. The civil war in Nigeria had apparently and entirely changed Nigeria‘s post-civil war policy of foreign relations, especially again with her immediate neighbours. Generally speaking, the civil war in Nigeria provided very important lessons to country‘s foreign and defense policy makers in many ways and especially in its relations with her immediate neighbours (Ashafa 2018:88).

The attack on the 11th September, 2001 has brought increased awareness and relevance to security implication of international migration across borders. A phenomenon which in the pass has not given much attention by some countries but has now become a matter for public policy. Between Nigeria and her neighbours, it is viewed as economic phenomenon and largely beneficial to the migrants especially those crossing the border from the north, avoiding the scourge of the drought and encroaching desert. All that have change as international migration is bringing, harsh consequences on the security and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and her neighbours, forcing Nigeria to take unpopular policy stand against security threat.4

International relations based on good neighborliness and friendships continue to dictate the Nigeria foreign border policy towards her immediate neighbours anchored on:

·         Sovereign equality of all African State

·         Respect for the independence, sovereign and territorial integrity of every African state

·         Not-interference in the internal affairs of other African states and

·         The commitments to functional cooperation as a means of promoting African unity and economic development.5

Despite these commitments increased cross-border crimes have forced Nigeria to intensify her security network along the borders with Chad posing serious migration and security threat.6

However, in 1971 a bilateral arrangement between Nigeria and Niger was signed by the two countries which led for the formation of Nigeria-Niger Join Commission for Cooperation (NNJC). The establishment of the commission was a reflection of the trade relations between both countries, which began even before the independence of both countries and flourished after the Nigeria civil war. Nigeria constitutes a huge market for Niger‘s goods, which are mostly live animals and agricultural products. Nigeria is Niger‘s second largest international customer for her exports, after France.7The aims and functions of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission as stated in Articles 2 and 3 of the convention provides that:

-          The commission has the general and exclusive jurisdiction identifying ways and means of coordination and harmonizing the economics of the two countries in all fields with a view to achieving increased and more effective cooperation between them.

-          The commission will particularly be responsible for proposing to the two Government, measures and project to be undertaken which will result in a gradual establishment of a rational, harmonious and balanced cooperation capable of ensuring maximum development of the two countries at the least possible cost and with a minimum of delay.8

In 2017 the Federal Government has unveiled a new  immigration policy known  as Immigration Regulations 2017‖ to check the entry of terrorist and other trans-border crimes in the country.9 The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau, while unveiling the document on Monday in Abuja, said the document would also fast-track the ease of doing business in Nigeria. He explained that the

―Immigration Regulations  2017‖ is a vital document that seek to operationalise the Immigration Act, 2015 and provide the legal framework for the dynamic and unfolding migratory realities.10 Danbazau further explain that the new regulation would replace the old and outdated Immigration Act of 1963, which could not take care of modern realities such as terrorism, technology and new immigration challenges.11

Nigeria-Niger Border Relations

The Nigeria-Niger borders appear to be least problematic of the borders Nigeria have to contend with. The borders stretches for over 150 km and cut across one of the densely populated areas of the two countries; the Southern Niger Republic and the Northern Nigeria straddling such historically notable town as Katsina, Kano and Sokoto. The two countries are linked together culturally and linguistically. The Hausa language is freely spoken by the nationals of the two countries at both sides of the borders.12Despite the strong tie, there have been no serious border clashes. The reason may be due to the solid commercial links between the two countries. For example, the trade in cattle is carried freely across the borders from Niger to Nigeria. However as a result of the issue of desertification which appear to be profound in Niger Republic may be responsible to the great number of immigrants coming from Niger to flood Nigeria cities. The move into the northern most part of Nigeria to the southern part of the country, such that lots of Nigeriens are found in cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Benin City, Enugu among others. They are found in menial jobs, house gardening and security.13

Despite the relative peace observed at the borders, and because of the experience of the Nigeria security operation along the Chadian borders, the Niger borders are equally fortified under close

surveillance to avoid infiltration by terrorist that may take the advantage of the porous borders to enter Nigeria illegally and cause uprising.14

Similary, Nigeria and the authorities of Niger Republic have entered into an understanding to enhance border security in line with ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Person. The understanding was reached on 6th April 2018 in Abuja during a high level meeting between the Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede MFR and the visiting Nigerien Minister of Interior, Mr Soly Amaodou. When operational, it would enable the following:

·         Allow border security agents of both countries to work jointly at common border points and flanks of both countries to not only ensure enhanced intelligence sharing but also help to mitigate irregular migration.

·         The understanding will also allow for joint deployment of border officials of both countries to specific irregular Routes / Points in both countries to ensure that irregular migrants are discouraged from embarking on hazardous journey through the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea.

·         Create a platform for sensitization of citizens of the two countries on the need for them to always possess valid travel documents and avoid the use of irregular routes when crossing national frontier in line with ECOWAS Protocol.15

The partnership is part of effort by the two neighboring countries to combat the increasing cases of irregular migration of youth of both countries which unfortunately has led to the death of many along the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean corridor.16The 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), and wards heads. These are the security agent that checkmates Nigeria border security along side with the Niger security agents such as police, Gendarmerie and Douone. The essence of security presence in the Nigeria-Niger borders differ from one agency to another, the Nigerian 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. The Customs are the agency that check contraband and illegal trading or smuggling activities between Nigeria and Niger such as Jibia-Maradi etc. They issue valuable documents for importation and exportation business transactions like Custom duty, tariff etc. They also handle and arrest smugglers and smuggled materials.17

The presence of police in border posts and related places has prevented and handled criminal activities in the border or immediate arrest of culprits. It is also part of their responsibilities to stop any potential violente outbreak into their nations. The presence of State Security Service at the border is very vital, because they sense and respond to any security threat for commuter alertness. National Drugs and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) check the imported hard drugs into the country. Their roles are to arrest the goods and the importers and hand them over the police to array them before the court.18

Other security agences in the border include military personnel found at designed border gates for intelligent, security and defence mission. Border Villages and Wards Heads at the border 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 border.19

The major divisions and separations of the Jibia town in Nigeria with their neighbors in Maradi in Niger Republic are the recognized and sanctified international borders. Nigeria location astride the west and central Africa, her human and natural endowment not only defined her external behaviors with distance nations, but also with her closest neighbours. In fact, looking at the present population of the region of West Africa at over 300 million and Nigeria‘s at over 180 million,20 as well as the pattern of distribution and composition, shows evidence of some pre-colonial demography dynamics across ethno-cultural boundaries on which the crux of Nigeria borderlines policy was to build upon.

To ensure a rather peaceful and warmly reciprocal relationship, while also protecting her territorial integrity and sovereignty, Nigeria has always reiterates the need to pursue vigorously the strategic policy of sovereign and defensive boundaries, which requires understanding and co-operation with her immediate neighbours, consequently the government of Nigeria in collaboration with neighboring countries has followed the United Nation recommendation, which states in Article 33 of  the  charter  that:  Parties  to  any  dispute the  continuation  of  whic is  likel to  endange the maintenance of negotiation, inquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, should resort to regional agencies or arrangements or other peaceful means of their own choice‖.21And in order to avoid disputes which may result in the breach of peace and political stability, Nigeria and her neighbors have been concerned with clear delimitation of boundaries and other mutually benefiting economic, cultural and diplomatic initiatives aimed at ensuring peaceful coexistence among them.

According to Ede, since independence Nigeria viewed her Francophone neighbours both as assets and liabilities.22And whose policies toward them had been guided by what Ogbu identified as follows: The sovereign equality of all African States; respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of every African state; non interference in the internal affairs of other African countries and then commitment to functioned cooperation as means of promoting African unity.23

Nigeria neighborliness policy is a core value in the country foreign policy pursuit and has remained central in both the strategic national security and strategic external relations and national interest. Relatatedly, Nigeria had realized that beyond border, geography and history, it shares cultural affinities with its neighbours. In truth, Nigeria‘s security is partly being determined by developments and activities in neighbouring countries, which makes better relationship both desirous and a priority. This brought the idea of Nigeria‘s concentric circle approach within its foreign policy domain and has always treat threat to its national interests from her neighbours with great concern. This was necessary because there is hardly any part of Nigeria‘s borders that is free from being used for either trafficking drugs, persons; illegal cross-border migration or illicit arms transfer into the country. In fact, Vector observes that the free flow of small arms and light weapons into Nigeria, has not only scaled up the state of insecurity in the country, but has also increased the number and intensity of violent ethno-religious and political conplicts.24 However, while the proximity of Nigeria to some of the conflict zone in west and Central Africa facilitated the inflow of illicit small arms, the proximity of Niger Republic to Libya increased the proliferation of dangerous small arms into Niger due to the Libyan crisis, and in the other hand the crisis in Central African Republic led the flows of arms into Chad, whose transmission into Nigeria was a major concern for the country authorities.25

In the case of illegal migration through the Nigerian borders as well as other neighbouring countries, which though rampant but hardly documented, has constitute security challenge for Nigeria. Nigeria buoyant economy, relative to the neighbouring countries, and the nature of its porous borders are bound to attract migrant from the sub-region especially from the less developed countries. This is apart from being a source of religious fundamentalism, which adds to the security challenges when foreign values antithetical to national security and interests become too rampant. In the recent time, especially with the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria North Eastern Region, drug trafficking, mercenary activities and cattle rustling to provide food and consumables for the insurgents had surged, which shows clearly how transnational social networks can have serious negative effect on Nigeria security. This is not to talk of the seasonal trans-national and trans- humans movement of herders coming into the country from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Central Africa Republic and whose consequences have been rampant conflicts with Nigerian farming communities and the attendant perennial security challenges it poses. This is apart from the economic concern from these illegal migrants who have been reported to have been engages in illegal mining activities in such areas of Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna and Nasarawa States resulting in notorious foreign exchange transaction that undermines the economy.26

Nigeria‘s threat analysis from Niger Republic is a product of the security consideration in terms of military, territorial, political as well as economic and cultural concerns. And this equally forms the strategic national interest in Nigeria‘s relationship with Niger on one hand that guides peaceful border cooperation on the other. Nigeria attaches fundamental concern on national security through the protection and advancement of national values against potential adversaries. It will be without basis to argue that Nigeria sees any threat from Niger Republic from the maximalist perception of threat; territorial attack or encroachment. Rather the threat is always being viewed from the minimalist perception: law and order, economic social and political stability and so on leading to de-territorialization of the Nigerian territories by its neighbors. These considerations provide the basic for conceiving the reality and potentials of such threats, for which reason, Nigeria had increased its economic assistance to Niger Republic. The aim was partly to bail out that country out from its troubling economic conditions that might pushed its citizens into criminality or pooled them into illegal migration to Nigeria with its attendant security risks. In the same vein, Niger Republic has not been contemplating any aggression from Nigeria that guides its need to relate peacefully, but rather it has that ‗big brother‘ picture of Nigeria and the very many assistance it would benefit from it and which Nigeria has never failed to provide when the need as it normally does.27

The argument here is that the de-territorialization of Nigerian territories by its neighbouring Niger Republic and any other for that matter, would only come into play partly as a result of the political, social and economic situation in that Sahelian country.28 For example, the activities of armed gangs and robbers attacking road travelers and settlements in Nigeria as well as participation of mercenaries in the insurgency could be attributed to the former rebels in Niger and Chad, who turned to criminality after the collapse of their respective political causes.29 It was for this reason for example that on 9th August 2003 that Nigerian authorities accused Benin Republic who refused to become proactive to several Nigeria‘s complaints in that regard. Though Benin had to plead to cooperate more actively before the borders were opened, this prompted the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Republics of Niger and Chad with Nigeria for cooperation to tackle cross-border crime and criminality, smuggling banditry and trafficking in person. The most important lesson therefore in Nigeria reaction to closing her borders with Benin

Republic that prompted the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the other two neighbours was that trans-border cooperation against transnational crime and threats to security is important to the satisfaction of all neighbours.30

Inter-community Relations in Jibia–Maradi Border Corridor

As it was being discussed above, the people of Jibia and that of Maradi shared the same origin from the old Kingdom of Katsina even though during the scramble and partition of African the two communities were separated by two European colonial powers with Maradi in the France territory while Jibia in British colonial domain. This separation created a lot of changes in the two communities but no one can dispute the two communities‘ successes in maintaining some of the custom and tradition they inherited from their mother kingdom of Katsina.

Marital relations is common between the two border communities, the people of Jibia married from Maradi and also Maradi people married from jibia. According to one of the respondent in the interviews, ―There is no different between the people of Jibia and Maradi, because most of the people of these areas (towns) are either related by blood or by marriage. So for that it is very difficult to differentiate between the two societies‖.31He further explain that, it is only colonial demarcation that separate the two societies. For instance, I was from Maradi town of Niger Republic but my mother was a native of Jibia town of Nigeria.32 A lot of people from this area share the same history with this man. Polygamy is commonly practiced by the people of the two towns, a man can have two to three or four wives at a time, the system is the part of teaching of Islam.

However, there is also mixture of culture between the two societies, based on the observation been made on this research, the people of these two towns have something in common on their behavioral pattern because of their contact. They develop a mix-culture of both Nigerian culture and the culture of the Sahel region of Niger area. For instance the mode of their dress, the way they speak, how they associate with other people etc. In fact, the nature of their dress is similar to that of other Hausa States like Katsina, Gusau, Kano, Zaria, Kwatarkwashi etc. The traditional Hausa dress are Big- gown (Baban riga) a richly designed flowing gown popularly known among the peoples of south- west Nigeria as ‗Agbada‘ and long sheet and trousers (Kaftan) for the men. While the ladies dress include wrappers and various designs of blouses and gowns for the women folk. The use of veils (hijab) by Muslim women to cover sensitive parts of their bodies in conformity with Islamic ideals gradually became adapted by non-Muslim women in their mode of dressing.33However, because the long inter-relations between the people of Jibia and Maradi they had similar method of preparation and consumption of the staples and delicacies they produced or acquired. The common food crops among the people of this area are millet (gero), rice (shinkafa), groundnut (gyada) etc which are all utilized in different forms.

French language is also studied by the people of Jibia and the language was part of the subjects being taught in both primary and secondary schools of the area. This became possible because of proximity of the people of the jibia and that of French speaking country. In Maradi English language was also being taught in both primary and secondary schools. However as result of the presence of other Nigeria ethnic groups in the town such as Yoruba, Igbo etc the language is widely spoken in the town. As a result this relations a University was established in Maradi where English language is usedas the official language of the University. The name of this university is Maryam Abacha American University Maradi. People from Jibia and other Nigerian cities such as Gusau, Katsina, Kano, Kwatarkwashi, Zaria, Sokoto, etc are undergoing their studies in the school for both


graduate and post-graduate studies.34 Perhaps it is for this that the border relations between Nigeria and Niger have been cordial and tolerant compared to say with Cameroon, which Asiwaju describes as troublesome so that:

…in the record of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, at the Hague, it is the subject of the most protracted adjudication, lasting almost ten years from 1994 to October 2002; the most complex case, that ever came before the court, involving both land and maritime segments of the entire border of over 2,000 kilometers, with a third country, Equatorial Guinea intervening; above all, the case of the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria has proved the most expensive to both State parties in the prosecution as well as in the still on-going implementation of the resultant judgment. It is in consideration of these exceptional challenges, long and still posed by the border as the most significant single factor in the relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon, that we have selected it for the purpose of our reflection in this lecture on how far the continent has gone in the collective resolve to convert African borders from colonially inherited postures as barriers and precipitant of conflict between most of the post-colonial States and transform them into new roles and functions as bridges and facilitators of cooperation between the States, consisted with their common commitment to continental integration and, especially, the deepening of the regional integration process.35


The extant border or international boundary conundrum in Africa emanated from colonial partition of the continent and the creation of new nation states with new boundaries that cut across hitherto amenable socio-cultural and politico-economic territorialities. The nature of this new development and the impact of colonial new restructuring of the polities, economies and societies in the continent especially after independence necessitated new strategies to deal with the challenges. Migration, though not new in the region, became significant. The Nigeria-Niger borderlands once again became a corridor for the movement of persons and goods. The ineffectiveness of the postcolonial bilateral and multilateral policies on border protocols in addition to the porousness of the border routes contributed immensely to the illegal and irregular migration across the Nigeria-Niger border. The implication of such orientation was the infiltration of undesirable elements that instigated various security challenges threatening cross-border relations among the communities proximate to the borderlands.

It is however important to note that, as the paper have shown, while some of these border insecurities are relic of ruthless colonial imposition and caprice that was envisaged to be a recipe for the contemporary social problems, it was not in all cases that African States were at loggerhead or being dragged into conflict regarding inherited boundaries. This is the case between Nigeria and Niger Republic, which as the paper has shown, differs significantly with the relationship between Nigeria and some of her French neighbors. Consequently, Nigeria-Niger relations, especially in the case of managing security issues along the borderland areas such as Maradi-Jibiya corridor, have always been reinforced by mutual cooperation and tolerance.From the submissions above, two major conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, interactions between the border communities of Maradi region (Niger) and Jibiya in Katsina (Nigeria) predates the creation of nation states in West Africa. Thus the ties are very deep and, in all likelihood, the interactions will continue far in to the future.

Secondly, by virtue of their membership in the economic community of West African states, Nigeria and Nigerare required to take official measures that will facilitate enhanced economic cooperation and integration. These facts cannot however, take us away from the obvious security concerns such as illegal trade, smuggling, cross-border banditry, and the movement and activities of illegal migrants are all issues that have an impact on the safe livelihood of these border communities.


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