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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Nigeria and Frontex sign agreement to enhance integrated border management

(27 January 2012)

On 19 January 2012, Frontex announced it had reached agreement with the Nigerian Immigration Service to form a working arrangement. The working arrangement was signed at the headquarters of Frontex, located in Warsaw, by the Executive Director Ilkka Laitinen and the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mrs Rose Uzoma. In response to the arrangement, Laitinen was quoted as saying:

“It gives me great pleasure to conclude this working arrangement with such an important partner in the development of integrated border management. The mutually beneficial exchanges of information and expertise are an important element of Frontex’s approach. We look forward to working together to promote gradual development of a sustainable partnership.”

Frontex was quick to point out that although it signed with the Nigerian Immigration Service, both the Nigeria Police Force and the National Agency for the Prevention in Trafficking in Persons are also included in the arrangement. The arrangement, which came in to effect the day after it was signed, is the fifteenth that Frontex has signed with third countries outside of the EU, which include Albania, Belarus, Canada, Cape Verde, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States of America.

The remit of the working arrangement with Nigeria however has been stated in notably broad and generalised terms. Within the press release Frontex stated that the agreement would include “provisions for the maintenance of structured dialogue as well as for the establishment of contact points in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to develop communication and information sharing in the field of border management activities of the Nigerian authorities and their Member State counterparts.” Through the agency’s Risk Analysis Unit, it is stated that there will also be “specific exchanges” between Frontex and Nigeria, allowing the participation of “competent” Nigerian authorities in “relevant meetings.” Further, during Joint Operations conducted by Frontex, representatives of Nigerian authorities “may also be invited to participate,” but only in an observer capacity and on a case-by-case basis to be decided by Frontex. There would also be the possibility of “seconding national Border Police Officers to Focal Point Offices at the external borders of the Member States of the EU.” A central goal of Frontex is in developing capacity-building measures intended to enhance integrated border management, which has also been cited as a possibility under the arrangement, though training and research and development activities. Frontex is also seeking to expand its operations through the practice of joint return operations, and foresees the arrangement as allowing possible cooperation with Nigeria.

Source: ‘Frontex signs working arrangement with Nigeria’, Frontex Press Office, 19 January 2012