Police and cross-border crime in an era of globalisation: The case of the Benin–Nigeria border
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West Africa has become notorious for instability and armed conflict and is increasingly known for transnational criminal networks. Free movement across borders creates security threats in the sub-region. Smugglers, traffickers, terrorists and armed robbers traverse the sub-regional borders without major challenge. Neo-liberal discourses promoting globalisation prioritise economic interconnectedness at the expense of border control. This study examines the factors behind cross-border crime at the Nigeria–Benin border, and police efforts to combat it. This is an important case study for two reasons. First, this zone is among the most significant for cross-border crime and trafficking in the region. Second, the two countries, both members of the Economic Community of West African States, exhibit the two dominant modes of policing in the region, associated with British and French colonial histories. Semi-structured interviews with n=260 police officers in Nigeria and Benin are used. The study finds evidence to support Findlay’s contention that globalisation is crimogenic and that globalisation and crime are mutually constituted but that outcomes are also subject to localised factors. The study makes recommendations for improved police cooperation to improve security.
Keywordspolicing border crime globalisation West Africa ECOWAS
Deputy Superintendent of Police Awotinde Emmanuel Oluleke BSc, MSc Sociology and Anthropology (Ife) hailed from Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Until his death he served as a Deputy Superintendent in the Nigeria Police and was seconded to the British High Commission on a Community Policing project. Oluleke contributed immensely to the success of collection of data for this study. He was involved in a ghastly motor accident along Ilesa-Akure road, Nigeria and later died at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital on 18 January 2008. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
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