Book review: Border security and the Nigerian dilemma

A review of Border Security and Governance in Africa: Essays in honor of Professor Anthony I. Asiwaju.

Nigeria is confronted with grave security crisis threatening its corporate existence. The political will to contain the deplorable situation and arrest the nation’s seeming descend into total anarchy is wantonly lacking, and the polit is riddled with war tunes. Experts have opined that since the attainment of independence from the British, the country has not been compromised as it is today. Terrorism, banditry and the formation of ethnic militias across the country have become the order of the day. Nigeria is witnessing what many have described as a colossal failure of government to honor its fundamental obligation of securing the lives and properties of its citizens.

Consequently, at the heart of the insecurity debacle and discourse in Nigeria is the question of border security and ungoverned spaces as routes via which criminal elements and terrorism gain inroad into the country.

Terrorist activities in Mali, Libya and the Sahel had been said to portend grave implications for Nigeria and West Africa at large due to the region’s susceptibility to extremist religious views. Today, the projections have become more manifest than they were 10 years ago.

Terrorism in Nigeria is said to be perpetuated by mercenary forces with roots in Libya and Mali where their Nigerian counterparts received armed training previously in preparation for the “jihad” that is happening today.

The above summation contextualizes the foregrounding ideas dissected in the book, Border Security and Governance in Africa: Essays in Honor of Professor Anthony I. Asiwaju, edited by Chris MA Kwaja, Kemi Okenyodo and Willie A. Eselebor. Emeritus Professor Asiwaju is a revolutionary historian and border studies expert whose pioneering works in the field in Africa have become generic reference sources, for academic inquiries on border security in Africa.

The 129-page book published by the Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative also known as Partners West Africa (PWAN) in 2021, is a conglomeration of brilliant border studies, historians, governance and development experts. Their scholarly interventions provide holistic perspectives on border management and the security reality in Nigeria today.

The book was first conceived in 2019 to celebrate the legacies of the Emeritus Professor Asiwaju when he turned 80 years old, but was eventually published in 2021 when he turned 82 years old. The diversity and caliber of the book’s contributors attest to Emeritus Professor Asiwaju’s towering image and impact in the field of border studies in Nigeria and Africa at large.

It is a collage of engagement with the nation’s dilemma with the hope of providing the government with scientific solutions to its insecurity crisis.

It is a book that should be read by every government official and security operatives as it would provide them with the root causes and solutions to the challenges the country is facing.

One of the critical questions that readily comes to mind as one reads the book is that, how is it that Nigeria and Africa are in the quagmire that they are in today if its scholars have carried out such formidable researches into the problems of the continent? Africa cannot advance out of its development poverty if it keeps ignoring its intelligentsia who take their time to diagnoseand proffer solutions to continent’s problems.

This book is exemplary in its diagnosis of the security challenges in Africa, and it goes further to determine the viable means of stemming the ugly tide before its consumes us all.

The book is in honor of Emeritus Professor Asiwaju, whose feats in the field of border studies in Africa is unrivaled.

There is no honor that can be greater than the expression of thoughts in one’s honor especially critical thoughts poised to reshape the future of a people in delirium.

Hussaini Abdu’s description of Professor Asiwaju’s exploits in the field of border studies is instructive, “Professor Asiwaju is one of the leading scholars in this field.”


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