The Executive Secretary/CEO of Border Communities Development Agency Captain Junaid Abdullahi speaks to news men on the need to carter for people living in border communities in order to make show patriotism to the country. He also speaks on other issues. Excerpts;
Q. May we know you officially?
My name is Caption Junaid Abdullahi, I am currently the Executive Secretary/ CEO of Border Communities Development Agency which is an agency under the presidency
Q. What is the Mandate of your agency?
The Border Community Development Agency is mandated basically to provide socio economic infrastructure to the boarder communities of Nigeria which domiciled in twenty one states, hundred and five local governments areas and communities with population of about 60Million people.
Q. How do you carry out the mandate?
We do that by intervening in areas that directly impact on the socio economic development of those areas. This comprise issues like health, like agriculture, like education , like empowerment and other capital projects that will impact on the activities of the local communities like roads, dams and sometimes we go into green projects like shelter belts, agriculture imputes implements and so on and so forth.
Q. When you provide all those things how do they solve the problems of those living in the border?
Well what we are trying to achieve basically is that we want to make these communities feel the impact of governance, because those communities are mainly isolated and the tendency is that if they don’t feel the impact of government they are susceptible to infiltration by cross boarder criminal elements.
If we are able to make them feel that the impact of governance by providing amenities to them, they will not have to depend on our neighboring communities for social facilities or education or hospitals and we want to get their patriotism back to their country. Otherwise what happens is that if you don’t make them feel they are citizens and part of Nigeria, they are easily infiltrated by smugglers, cross boarder criminals and terrorists.
So we want this people to have patriotism to defend their country. And they will not hide criminal elements if they are proud to be Nigerians. If you neglect them, the tendency is that they may even have more loyalty to the other state across the border than their own country.
Q. For the benefit of doubt can you mention some places you have built infrastructure?
As an example let me give you the case of the Bakassi Settlement Scheme; after the Baskassi was ceded to Cameroun we still had Nigerians as at that time living in the territories that were ceded to Cameroun. Eventually, this people have to be settled back into Nigeria territory and this is where the Boarder Community Agency participated in resettling the refugees. And we are still having projects there; we are building schools, and providing water as in bore tanks.
That is one of the areas I can give you as an example where we.
Q. These people seem isolated, are there security apparatus in place to safe guard them from external aggression?
As you know, in boarder communities the customs and Immigration are stakeholders and they basically live in those communities and our security agencies are always part and parcel even though it is not advertised, so it is the collaboration of not only one agency but also custom, Immigration, police and of course the department of state security.
Q. What are the challenges of the Agency?
Challenges are basically enormous. The challenge is funding because we are doing our best but we need to do more. For us to do more, we need adequate funding.
Q. Are you collaborating with any external body?
We intend to but so far we have not, except the Joint commissions we are member of, like Nigeria- Niger Commission, Nigeria- Cameroun security Commission.