Niger Opens Modern Headquarters for Border Police
Niger’s Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST) has a new home in Niamey that agency leaders and international allies say will help the government better monitor migration and prevent transnational crime.
Designed by a Nigerien architectural firm, the $3 million complex took six months to build. The project got financial support from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) managed the project.
“The need for a new headquarters has been imposed by the reality of our daily lives,” Commissaire Abdourahmane Alfa, the DST director, said at the inauguration ceremony. “We are thrilled to have this new building, with adequate technical equipment more suited to our needs across the country.”
The new building is part of the three-year Haske DST program, designed to improve the public’s understanding of and interaction with DST. The program takes its name from the Hausa phrase that means “to shine light on DST” and showcases the work of the border-protection agency.
The headquarters was designed to create more collaboration by DST agencies and to improve the experience of visitors seeking passports and other services, according to the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
The four-building compound replaces the DST’s previous offices, which users told the U.N. were run-down and shabby. The new buildings provide visitors and workers with more inviting and comfortable space, according to Tassiou Yermia, the IOM’s construction engineer on the project.
As part of the project, Niger received a border management computer system that combines the U.S.’ Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System with IOM’s Migration Information and Data Analysis System(MIDAS) for border security. Together, they will create a combined view of movement through border crossings on land and at airports with all the data centralized at the new headquarters.
The complex also includes a new training facility for security personnel, a first for Niger.
“It will be used to train agents both in Niger and in the region, thereby supporting the development of the Nigerien National Police,” said Martin N’Konou, MIDAS project officer.
Alfa said Niger’s security needs demanded a modern facility where security officials could work together and receive training on the most up-to-date border-protection equipment. Niger is part of the G5 Sahel, a group of five countries from Mauritania to Chad collaborating to expand security and fight extremist groups in the region.