This article examines the politics of public policies characterised by increased securitisation of Nigeria’s national boundary from 2014 to 2017. While the regulation appears on paper to discourage transborder crime, capital outflow and sustain a favourable balance of payment, the existing armoury of West African border literature argues otherwise. What is new in the transborder dynamics of West Africa? What informs government’s border policies in Nigeria? In answering these questions, this study provides a template for a reassessment of the gap between borderlands theory and policy in West Africa. The approach is comparative based on the critical analysis of oral interviews, government trade records, newspaper reports and the extant literature. The article provides a platform for rethinking of the nexus between governance and development in West Africa from the securitisation and neo-patrimonial perspectives. It concludes that effective border management in Nigeria is set aback by misguided and dysfunctional elitist-centred regulations that are devoid of the realities on the ground.
This article explores how Nigeria’s foreign policy has responded to transnational security challenges in West Africa. It engages in a conceptual overview of the discourse on transnational security and links this with a discussion of Nigeria’s foreign policy towards West Africa. Of note is Nigeria’s pursuit of a leadership role in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in its quest for security, economic integration and development. Several questions are posed: What do Nigerian policymakers consider to be the most significant transnational threats in West Africa? How and through what legitimate policies and instruments do they respond to such threats? How important is ECOWAS to Nigeria’s attempt to respond to transnational threats? And how effective have Nigeria’s attempts to influence the ECOWAS agenda in this regard been? Although ECOWAS has remained central to Nigeria’s responses to transnational security threats in the subregion, the country has not been able to match its rhetoric on addressing transnational security threats with far-reaching concrete achievements. It is suggested that social transformation of Nigeria’s current foreign policy (that is, to one focused and committed to putting people at its centre) and a change in the policies of dominant global powers towards West Africa would enhance human emancipation and eliminate the numerous insecurities confronting the peoples of the subregion.