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Abstract Border towns have existed at the margins of development. Typically considered as sites of war and far-flung rebel-prone territories, governments the world over have historically concentrated their development efforts on the centre instead. In a paradoxical twist of fate, border towns witness intense economic transactions at the land, sea and air borders daily and yet remain in perpetual underdevelopment. Unsurprisingly, border towns are sites of transnational organised crimes, gaping poverty and inequalities. This paper argues that the underdevelopment of border towns in Nigeria makes border regions highly susceptible to cross-border crimes including human trafficking and contraband smuggling which undermines the government’s attempts at securing the borders. Using the Imeko border between Ogun state in Nigeria and Porto Novo, the Republic of Benin as a case study, the author contends that the level of underdevelopment of our border communities is so bad that that the citizens have little or no regard for the government. This paper recommends that the Nigerian government immediately prioritise the rapid development of border regions as seen in the European Union, mainstream border indigenes into border security agencies and eradicate corrupt and oppressive security forces from such areas.
Keywords: Development, Border Security, Border towns, Imeko