By Collins Yakubu-Hammer, Abuja.
The National Boundary Commission on Tuesday in Abuja reiterated its commitment to complete the demarcation of the Nigeria-Niger border.
Its Director-General, Mr Adamu Adaji gave the assurance in his address of welcome at a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee of Experts on Re-demarcation of Nigeria-Niger International Boundary.
Adaji expressed appreciation for the commitment of security personnel in the border area to providing security and the enabling environment for the erection of pillars along the borderline.
“We are making commendable progress in our set goal of re-demarcation of the international boundary.
“Our aim is to make the boundary more visible to border inhabitants, and not to separate the people who share the same history and culture.
“There is no doubt that the relationship between Nigeria and Niger Republic is the best and both countries are one and the same.
“With the continued support of our governments and, indeed, development partners, we will soon conclude all outstanding works on the re-demarcation of the boundary.
“After that, we will shift focus to the promotion of cross-border and joint development activities for our two nations.
“It is on this note that I assure you of the commitment of Nigeria’s delegation to the worthy mission of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission (NNJC) and pledge our cooperation and support,’’ Adaji said.
He said 128 main pillars, out of the 148 pillars demarcating the boundary, had been re-constructed, “leaving only 20 pillars to be reconstructed”.
Adaji appreciated the presidents of Nigeria and Niger Republic as well as the contribution of the German International Development Agency for its financial support in the emplacement of the required pillars on the boundary.
In his remarks, Head of Delegation of Republic of Niger, Dr Pate Balla thanked the authorities of both countries for the cooperation and efforts to justify the demarcation.
Bella stressed that the governments of the two countries had made significant progress in strengthening the process, in line with the ECOWAS agreements.
“In view of the demarcation, there were areas to be looked into in trans-border cooperation. We are, indeed, grateful to the government of Nigeria on the effort of strengthening the cooperation,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Secretary-General of the NNJC, Mr Adamou Namata noted that the synergy between Nigeria and Niger Republic had not been betrayed.
“The 1,500-kilometre boundary between Nigeria and the Republic of Niger is the only one that has not witnessed any form of armed conflict.
“All stakeholders must play their parts to ensure amicable demarcation of the boundary and placement of the pillars,’’ Namata said.