Porous Borders and Armed Proliferation: Nigeria’s Endless Security Dilemma

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume VI, Issue IV, April 2022 | ISSN 2454–6186

Porous Borders and Armed Proliferation: Nigeria’s Endless Security Dilemma

Mezie-Okoye, Charles Chukwurah, Ph.D.
Department of Sociology/Centre for Peace and Security Studies,
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Port Harcourt,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: This article discusses how Nigeria’s porous borders have fostered insecurity. The protection of human life and property inside a given jurisdiction necessitates border security. Smugglers of various kinds of illegal goods, including small weapons, use Nigeria’s land borders as free entry and exit points. They operate practically unabated by the country’s security forces. Our borders in the northeast and northwest are like thoroughfares without the resistance of Nigerian security officers. A qualitative approach was adopted for this study, a secondary method of gathering data was used; data was gathered from textbooks, journals, articles, published and unpublished works, and the internet. The link between porous borders, arms proliferation, and insecurity allows for the unrestricted flow of small guns into and out of Nigeria, with the majority of these weapons ending up in the hands of non-state actors who use them to stir up trouble and render society unfriendly, ungoverned, and unsafe. This study’s theoretical framework is the failed state theory. The failed state theory outlines a situation in which a government fails to fulfill its duties. Nigeria’s large land and marine borders, on the other hand, are extremely porous and poorly monitored and policed. The key findings of this article are that border porosity caused a food shortage in the northeast and that individuals in the quest for food ended up with significant problems. Kidnappings and insecurity have also escalated in that region, as well as in Nigeria as a whole. The research emphasizes the critical significance of border security in resolving the country’s security concerns. This is because tiny arms and light weapons, as well as criminals, enter the country quite easily and occasionally wreak mayhem.

Keywords: national security, criminality, arms proliferation, arms trafficking, border control, porous borders.


The fact that Nigeria’s maritime and land borders are poorly manned and policed is a sobering truth. What is most perplexing, though, is how successive governments have addressed these security concerns with little or no action. The government’s inaction is all the more disturbing given that it has been established that porous borders have facilitated illegal arms proliferation, particularly through the northern borders, while criminals from all over the world enter the country, contributing immeasurably to the frightening level of insecurity Nigeria faces today (https://punchng.com/porous-borders-nigerias-endless-security-dilemma/|). The bulk of small weapons in Nigeria are assumed to be illegally possessed, according to Hazen and Horner (2007), due to the difficulties of lawfully obtaining a pistol. Due to their illegal status,