CROSS BORDER CRIMES AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF ECOWAS STATES
Despite the efforts of cross-border security agencies such as the Nigeria police, customs, immigration services, and Nigerian civil defence, among others, Nigerian borders have been described as porous, allowing all types of cross-border or trans-border criminal activities such as human trafficking, smuggling, drug trafficking, arm robbery, money laundering, and illicit arms trafficking, resulting in the proliferation of SALW.
As a result, Nigeria, West Africa's regional superpower, continues to suffer major security issues as a result of cross-border or trans-border criminal operations. We contend that, first, a surge in cross-border criminal activity in West Africa jeopardises Nigeria's national security; and, second, frequent trans-border crimes in the West African sub-region impair Nigeria's external relations.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the repercussions of cross-border crimes along the Magam Jibia border for Nigeria's national security and socioeconomic growth. The study is essentially a historical research approach that relies heavily on secondary data sources such as online sources, official papers, and country websites for data collection.
In other words, we used qualitative-descriptive analysis as our data analysis approach, which included documentary studies of official documents and other materials in analysing secondary data. As a result, we were able to reach the following key conclusions: one, the surge of cross-border criminal activity in West Africa jeopardises Nigeria's national security.
Nigeria's external ties are hampered by the prevalence of trans-border crime in the West African sub-region. On this premise, we propose, first, reconstituting the Nigerian state in such a way that it is proactive in dealing with the pervasive cross-border criminal activities that threaten its national security.
various replies, and finally, effective strategies for government and civil society action on the issue are recommended. To address the proximate causes of cross-border crime in the West African sub-region,
this study advocates for the strengthening of short-term, practicable, and implementable sub-regional collaborative initiatives backed by quick national enforcement actions.
INTRODUCTION TO CHAPTER ONE
1.1 Background of The Study
Various operations outside the borders of ECOWAS member states have hampered the Union's long-term economic growth and development (Orji, 2008:?) Bunkering, terrorism, smuggling of prohibited products, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and prostitution, among other things, do not promote socioeconomic growth in developing countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Togo.
Every patriotic ECOWAS member wishes to establish a robust and sound economy. This ambition can be exhibited by completely eliminating or reducing cross-border crime and other activities that may jeopardise the effectiveness of the economic union's current free trade policy.
Cross-border crime refers to a variety of unlawful and notorious crimes carried out by people and groups across national and international borders, either for financial or commercial gain,
or for sociopolitical or religious reasons. It is a group of criminal activities whose perpetrators and consequences transcend national boundaries (Owolabi, 2009: 23).
To name a few, cross-border crimes include people trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling or trafficking, international terrorism, illegal oil bunkering, illicit diamond trafficking, and commercial fraud.Organised criminal groups conduct their illicit activities using sophisticated tools such as information networks,
the financial system, and other sophisticated means, whereas other crude methods include concealing prohibited items from one country to another, human trafficking, and major oil bunkering activities using speed boats and vessels.
Some cross-border criminal cabals also take advantage of variations in legislation, judicial systems, and traditions, which frequently stymie governmental efforts to respond appropriately to the threat of organised or cross-border crime.
According to Ortuno and Wiriyachai (2009: 56), the past few years have seen an increase in worldwide criminal activities such as money laundering, trafficking in human and nuclear technology and materials, the trade in human organs, and migrant smuggling.
Simultaneously, new crimes such as modern piracy and trafficking in toxic waste, counterfeit medications, precious metals, or natural resources have been added to the list of classic illicit activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking, and arms trafficking.
Recently, cross-border crime has grown in scope and is distinguished by an increasingly global reach, involvement in many forms of criminal activity, and the expansion of criminal markets to encompass large-scale financial fraud and cyber-crime.
And the syndicates are willing to protect their activities using violent and merciless measures, including affiliation with international terrorist organisations and the development of unique and notorious organisational strategies to avoid capture (Luna 2008).
The scope of these illicit operations has grown in Nigeria. The advent of militancy in the Niger Delta, as well as a slew of kidnappings, have generated major security issues. This is done in collusion with security agencies. This condition is alarming to both international and domestic investors, and it has a negative impact on society's socioeconomic progress.
Drug trafficking, like its sibling, money laundering, has an economic impact on emerging nations. It places growing strain on public health systems and society as a whole. These rising demands and tensions take various forms, including major epidemics such as HIV/aids.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the number of cocaine users and HIV/AIDS cases is significantly greater along the cocaine trafficking route.It is also stated that a lot of teenagers are involved in drug trafficking, with the connotation that these youths do not attend school.
education, particularly education made available to the poor, is critical to development because it empowers individuals. This study aims to explore and assess cross-border crime and its impact on Nigeria's economy.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Cross-border crime has slowed the rate at which most West African states should achieve globalisation, and free trade zones provide various advantages for an economy, whether capitalist or mixed. These advantages are obtained when proper procedures and legal actions are carried out between countries.
However, in locations with trade restrictions, high unemployment rates, and high poverty rates, as is common in most developing countries, the opposite is true. Most things smuggled into and out of the country generate enough revenue to create schools, roads, and other social amenities in Nigeria.
Cross-border criminal operations in West Africa cross weak borders into specific geographical locations of impacted nations, where the capacity to respond to the threat and obstacles posed by these unlawful activities is also inadequate. Smuggling of goods, particularly cocoa, lumber, ivory, and petroleum products, over national borders is most common along the sub-region's Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, benin, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso corridors.
Cross-border crime is getting more sophisticated by the day, with disastrous effects for countries' economies, particularly those in the Third World. These offences have a tendency to reduce the funds available to the government for providing basic necessities to the impoverished.
Medical or health facilities, education, housing, income, and the supply of additional infrastructure such as roads, electricity, and water are examples of basic amenities.
Smuggling of these and other things involves ordinary businessmen, women, and even rebels and criminal organisations. These commodities are smuggled in vehicles or on foot across borders in order to avoid special laws, levies, or taxes, and so earn more money from the cross-border movement of these products.
Nigeria, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast, for example, have been branded and shamed for allegedly facilitating the illegal ivory trade. Following the annihilation of their own elephant population, the three countries were suspected of importing and selling tonnes of ivory poached in neighbouring countries.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study's major goal is to investigate cross-border crime and socioeconomic development in ECOWAS member nations, with an emphasis on the Magama Jibia border in Katsina state. The following are the study's specific objectives:
Identifying numerous cross-border crimes committed in ECOWAS member countries.
To investigate the issues caused by cross-border crime and how these challenges affect Nigeria's and other ECOWAS member states' socioeconomic growth.
To assess the efficiency of various government-implemented tools for combating cross-border crime.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to meet the research aims, the following research questions were developed:
How effective are the various government machinery put in place to combat cross-border crime?
What are the obstacles provided by cross-border crime, and how have these challenges impacted Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states' socioeconomic growth?
1.5 THE METHODOLOGY
This study's methodology is a hybrid of historical, descriptive, and analytical research methodologies. The historical research will help us to describe and learn from the antecedent and precedent from the past and present,
which can be purely factual and descriptive. This means that the data will almost always come from library research and content analysis. This library will include relevant textbooks on leadership and national integration in Nigeria, as well as other works on the subject.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will examine the nature of cross-border crime and its impact on the socioeconomics of ECOWAS member countries. This research would contribute to the development of a thriving and sound economy by minimising the rise in criminal activity. This project will research and assess cross-border crime and its impact on Nigeria's economy.
It will be a valuable source of information for security analysts, law enforcement professionals, and the general public.
1.7 STUDY SCOPE
The study examines cross-border crimes in ECOWAS member countries from 2004 to 2014, with the Magama Jibia Border in Katsina, Nigeria serving as a case study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
CROSS BORDER CRIME: Cross border crime refers to a variety of unlawful and notorious crimes carried out across national and international borders by people and groups for financial or economic gain, as well as sociopolitical or religious purposes. It is a group of criminal crimes whose perpetrators and consequences transcend national boundaries.
Human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling or trafficking, cross-border terrorism, illegal oil bunkering, illicit diamond trafficking, corruption, and commercial fraud are just a few examples.
MONEY LAUNDRY: Money laundering is the practise of participating in cross-border financial transactions in order to disguise the identity, source, or destination of unlawfully obtained funds.
It could also be described as the process of doing any action with property of any kind that is either entirely or partially the proceeds of a crime in order to conceal the fact that the property is the proceeds of a crime or to hide the beneficial ownership of said property.
DEFINITION OF DRUG TRAFFICKING: Drug trafficking is the possession of an illegal drug in a preset commercial amount.
ECOWAS stands for the Economic Community of West African States. This is a confederation of fifteen West African countries. On May 28, 1975, the company was founded.
SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: This is a process that aims to identify both the social and economic requirements of a community and to develop strategies to meet those needs in a practical and long-term fashion that is in the best interests of the community.