The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ministers of the interior, has deliberated on the modalities of involving the ECOWAS Member States at the highest level, in the implementation of regional legal instruments on the free movement of persons while strengthening the existing synergies between the Ministers responsible for security and interior in order to facilitate the application of regional instruments relating to migration, among others.
Following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on regional free movement, the ministers were also briefed on guidelines to be adopted by the Member States, and on border management for ease of implementation given that they have oversight function on the enforcement agencies.
Speaking on the fourth annual Ministerial meeting on behalf of The President of ECOWAS, H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Mr. Tei Konzi, sais that the region has recently been experiencing various types of migration which have worsened the effects on population pressure, poverty, poor economic performance and endemic conflict. The development, he maintained, has necessitated deliberations on border management in accordance with the new guidelines for the mobility of persons.
Konzi stressed that to understand contemporary migration systems and current policies in the region, it was necessary to examine the situation and discuss lessons learned for the formulation and implementation of migration policies to identify the challenges posed to West Africa by migration management.
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Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, Chair of the Meeting and Minister of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria noted that dialogue is a basic tool of civilization meant to deepen the engagement and advancement of citizens and nations.
Stressing the need to examine the identified issues of migration that are of mutual benefits to all, the minister drew particular attention to developments that concern security, criminality which also involves the region’s border facilities.
He calls for greater collaboration with the government of Nigeria in order to deal more decisively with the incursion of bandits, terrorists and insurgency elements that are infiltrating the territories of Member States.
While rounding up the meeting, he called on delegates to ensure that resolutions on ease of movement are well guarded even as a harmonized data management and integrated systems for efficiency are developed.
With the expression of goodwill by the European Union whose commitment to the MIDA process was delivered by Ms Eleni Zerzelidou, the representative of the International Office for Migration Ms Aissata Kane, on her part, extended deep appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for the leadership provided in the migration processes of the region.