By Emmanuella Anokam
The National Boundary Commission (NBC) has called for synergy between the commission and the three tiers of government for effective resolution of boundary disputes across the country.
The Director-General of the commission, Mr Adamu Adaji, made the call in Abuja at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum.
Adaji said that the synergy was necessary to carry them along in the commission’s activities and for them to acknowledge their roles at the national and state levels to avert crisis through timely resolution of boundary issues.
He said that the commission usually organised a zonal interactive session with the state boundary committees nationwide[g1] , adding that the sessions were very helpful as a result of ideas shared and suggestions made.
Adaji, who will soon mark one year in office, said he did not see his assumption of office as the D-G as different from his normal official work engagements, adding that he imbibed the policy of continuity.
“There were some things I helped my predecessors to do when I was heading departments and I wish to commend them because they cooperated and gave me free hands and support.
“Being at the helm of affairs, I immediately sought for the buy-in of states on our activities to distinguished the roles expected at the national boundary commission and state boundary committees, hence the zonal interactive session,” he said.
He said that the committee had engaged in many activities including resolution of boundaries between countries and demarcation of several resolved boundaries as well as laying of pillars in some states.
The NBC boss said that boundary activities required a lot of finances, although the Federal Government had its priority lists which required considerable in funding.
“It is not everything we want that will be given at once but we have had improvement in our financing; we can do with more.
“We make estimates and government gives us assistance on funding based on availability of fund.
“The Federal Government gives issues of boundary priority because boundary issues are security issues and the earlier we get the boundaries issues resolved and demarcated, it will prevent disputes fully.
“We try to create a good trans-border cooperation with these communities in terms of management of these boundaries.
“So, some of the boundaries are in the stages of management, stages of disputes resolution and physically definition and we try to be proactive while engaging the communities to prevent disputes,” he said.
Speaking on how long it takes to resolve a typical boundary disputes, Adaji said that it involved cooperation, funding and some due processes which usually took a while.
“We will firstly converge a joint meeting of officials to be held in one of the states affected for the affected states to air their views.
“The processes to follow will be agreed at such meetings, followed by the task of searching of documents which is done in collaboration with the states involved.
“These documents will be articulated and submitted to the commission.
“Then the commission will call for a meeting whereby the documents are jointly scrutinised and studied for us to identify relevant documents to be packaged to the team of surveyors, geographers, lawyers and others because the commission is a multi-disciplinary agency.
“These documents will be given to technical experts, who will interpret them first on available maps, then go on ground to test the documents physically after that; a roundtable for discussion and presentation of evidences will be held.
“After that, we will report to the internal boundary trial committee, a statutory committee of the commission headed by the minister of works, as the chairman where the outcome of field investigations will be presented.
“The surveyors sometimes will go back into the field to obtain more data if there are grey areas. And if one state fails to honour it, the work will be delayed, it may spill over to many years thereby truncating the process,” he said.
The D-G said that inadequate funding for a particular period, insecurity and other factors might slow down boundary resolution process.
“One cannot say how long a case may stay because of the processes involved but if it is going smoothly, it would be resolved in good time,’’ the D-G said. (NAN)