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Border walls critical to reducing insecurity –Adeyemi, Senator representing Kogi-West – Punch Newspapers

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Senator Smart Adeyemi
The Nigerian Navy has urged the Federal Government to erect walls across the nation’s borders as a quick measure to stop the proliferation of arms and ammunition. You’ve canvassed that idea before, do you still hold that view?
I want to commend you for recalling what I said in one of my contributions to a debate on the floor of the Senate in 2020. I did say that it was not out of place if we started contemplating building walls around the Nigerian borders and some of my colleagues laughed. As of that time, the level of insecurity was not as alarming as we currently have. I still want to maintain that it is possible for the Federal Government to embark on building walls around the boundary of Nigeria.
Do you think it is that easy?
Nigeria is endowed with all the natural resources needed to carry out the project. We don’t need to import granite, sands, cement, water and iron. We have them in abundance here. We can use it to create jobs for the people. We will engage many youths to police the borders while the construction commences. One of the challenges confronting our country today is job creation.

If we have sand and cement, how do we source iron locally?
The Iron and Steel Company in Ajaokuta, Kogi State should be revamped and rehabilitated. We can get all the iron that we require for the construction of the wall there. By that, we would create jobs in Ajaokuta Steel and Iron Company and for the cement factories because the iron and steel company would produce crushers. I went to Ajaokuta last year and I saw Nigerian-made crushers there. About 98 per cent of the equipment was made in that complex. This would help to galvanise the security of the country. Revamping the steel company would lead to job creation and galvanise the economic activities of the country. So, I am happy that the Nigerian Navy has also agreed that there was a need to build walls around Nigeria, and I would love to commend Sunday PUNCH for being able to recall this. Some of the resources being given out are going into private pockets; we can divert them to the construction of the walls. There are also monies stuck in the banks with nobody claiming them. So, the time has come for us to look for avenues that could generate employment for the security of our nation. Ajaokuta could produce more than 500 crushing machines that we could use to blast stones. We have everything it takes to build a wall around Nigeria. If you ask the Steel Company in Ajaokuta to produce 500 crushing machines, they are capable of doing that. It is a win-win situation to secure our nation. This is the solution. I want to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to embark on constructing this defence wall around Nigeria.
Some people have argued that beyond the physical walls, we can use technology to monitor the borders. Do you agree with that?

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Good as that sounds, it is not going to provide jobs for people. Technology will reduce the employment that building the fence will generate. I believe in technology, but what I am saying is that we need to get a plan of action that will reduce the high level of unemployment. Later, we can still use technology as a backup. But, let this fence be built. It costs nothing to build this wall. Technology can now be deployed to protect the fence itself. So, once there is a strike on the wall, you know where it is happening. The wall is critical. I hope the Nigerian nation will rise up to this and see that this is a way to go. If this is implemented, it will be good for us, the nation will be well secured and there will be job opportunities.
Some people would say such border walls require a high level of expertise and maybe some foreign help, do you think we can afford all of that?
There is no technology that you will not find, at least, one Nigerian involved in. You copy technology. There is no knowledge that God has given to man that you will not have a Nigerian who will be ready to, for the service of their fatherland, execute it. Every technology that you think is excellent is already on the internet. You can study them and know how it is done. We may not need to bring in people to get certain things done. Massive walls can be done once you have the material specification. There is nothing complex about building a wall because what is important is to have an understanding of the materials that are required and the quantity for what you are doing. Once that is in place, the wall will be built. I am not an engineer, but I know that when you are set to build, you would need iron, granite, concrete, cement, water, etc. These are the fundamental requirements of building a concrete building that will last. I hold the strong view that if we want to build the wall following a certain specification and we are not compromising materials, we would get the result we want.
The former United States President, Donald Trump, attempted to build walls but later dropped the idea because of the cost to taxpayers. Good as the idea is, do you think the majority of Nigerians would support it based on the cost?

The financial situation will only have an effect on us if we are importing. We are not importing any material to build the wall. Do you know there are nations that do not have stones? There are nations without iron ore. We have all it takes, so we are not importing the materials.
What will be the fate of people who live in border communities?
There must be demarcation. Something must give in for something else. Security comes first. These communities we are talking about also need security. I do not think there is any other reason to be afraid to construct the wall once we have the political will to get it done.

Would you want to propose a bill to that effect?
I would first come with a motion where it will be debated. Then, we will have to brainstorm. We would move from that to a bill. Everybody would have to give their own contribution. It is possible.
Specifically, how will this stop all forms of criminality and insecurity that we have in the country?
If you build a wall around your country, you would install security cameras. So, from a distance, you can tell when someone is approaching the wall. You would have what I would call a Homeland Security outfit. We need it. People would be running a shift and they would help us in policing the borders. When you have sufficient cameras installed, you can see anybody far away. It is not a problem. Like I said, once there is a political will, we can get it done.
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