As the citizens of West Africa are being prepared for the introduction of the Shengen-type visa for the sub-region, top officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service were yesterday told to implement the protocol of free movement of persons and goods.
The inability of national governments and joint initiatives of the community to stamp out harassment and intimidation of citizens at the trade corridors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is largely seen as the main impediment to economic integration as well as the desire to have an ECOWAS of peoples and not of states.
At a train-the-trainers workshop which started yesterday in Abuja, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Amb. Victor Gbeho, admitted lapses in the existing efforts.
“I am well informed of the hardship and intimidation of community citizens in the hands of security operatives in our common borders,” he stated.
But the commission president also stressed the need to “activate public participation” in the protocol implementation (Free Movement A/P1/5/79) and other relevant texts in seeking to accelerate the attainment of a borderless community.
Copyright, Blaise APLOGAN, 2010,© Bienvenu sur Babilown
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