NBC proposes Joint Technical Committee to resolve Kebbi, Niger boundary dispute

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By Philip Yatai

The National Boundary Commission (NBC), has proposed a Joint Technical Committee towards resolving the lingering interstate boundary dispute between Niger and Kebbi states.

The Director-General of the commission, Mr Adamu Adaji, made the proposal in Abuja on Friday, during a joint meeting of officials from the two states to agree on way forward.

Adaji explained that the Kebbi State Government had written to the commission, over an alleged encroachment of their lands in Bagudo Local Government Area by the people of Kwankoso Community of Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State.

He added that the government had asked the commission to resuscitate action towards ensuring that the boundary between the two states was clearly defined and demarcated.

He recalled that in 2005, a Joint Committee had identified and articulated some documents adjudged to be relevant in the definition of the boundary.

He, however, said that the expected fieldworks to translate the documents to a physical demarcation on ground could not be carried out over the years.

Adaji expressed optimism that the technical committee, if constituted, would re-visit identified documents and re-evaluate their appropriateness for use in the definition and demarcation of the interstate’s boundary.

He explained that the meeting was organised to find a lasting solution to the boundary dispute.

He also advised the two states to establish a functional Local Government Boundary Committees in each local government area, to prevent boundary disputes from escalating into a crisis.

“There is also the need for the committees to investigate and articulate all facts on the issues and submit report to the State Boundary Committee as inputs for the state’s position:

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“There is equally the need for a physical fieldwork to trace the boundary in accordance with relevant documents, if available, or the use of the principle of ground-to-paper, to supplement the insufficient relevant documents.

“The NBC will re-visit the identified documents and re-evaluate their appropriateness for use in the definition of the boundary.

“States and the Local Government Committees should enlighten and sensitise the affected communities on the essence of interstate boundaries, the importance of peaceful co-existence and solicit their cooperation during the field work,” he said.

The DG also called for a joint sensitisation of the affected communities, preparatory to the fieldwork to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

He explained that the Kebbi and Niger interstate boundary spans about 640-kilometre, adding that in 2004, a Joint Committee articulated a set of documents for use on the boundary.

He, however, said that the expected fieldwork was not carried out due to some challenges beyond the commission’s control.

“As we know, both Kebbi and Niger States emerged from what used to be the North-Western State of Nigeria.

“Niger and Sokoto States were created out of the then North-Western State in 1976 with the separation of what used to be the Sokoto and Niger Provinces. This development created a Sokoto- Niger inter-provincial boundary.

“Subsequently, with the creation of Kebbi State out of the former Sokoto State in 1991, part of the hitherto Sokoto and Niger interstate boundary was transformed into the present Kebbi and Niger interstate boundary,” he said.

In his remarks, Surveyor General of Niger, Mr Idris Auna, agreed with Adaji that the dispute required a technical approach that would ensure proper and physical demarcation of the boundary.

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Similarly, Mr Sadiq Diggi, Special Adviser to Gov. Nasir Idris of Kebbi on Boundary Issues, also supported the establishment of the technical committee to effectively resolve the crisis. (NAN)

Edited by Abiemwense Moru

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