Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ecowas Task Force On Free Movement Meets in Lagos



2 Nov 2011 06:16 Africa/Lagos

Task force on ECOWAS free movement protocol meets in Lagos

ABUJA, November 2, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A meeting of the National Task Force on the removal of impediments to the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on free movement of citizens, goods and services in Nigeria, opened in Lagos on Tuesday, 1st November 2011.

"ECOWAS should be applauded for this laudable, overdue but nevertheless timely initiative which will facilitate the realization of the objectives of the founding fathers of the organization", retired Air Vice-Marshal Terry Okorodudu, chair of the task force, said while opening the week-long meeting, the second by members of the task force.

He said that through the Protocol and the regional Standby Force arrangement, ECOWAS has become a model in regional integration, not only in Africa but also globally, particularly because of its regional security architecture.

"These initiatives will further enhance the image of the organization as a pacesetter and become the template for others interested in pursuing regional integration, particularly measures for realizing the unhindered movement of Community citizens", Vice-Marshal Okorodudu told members of the task force, drawn from security services and other stakeholder organizations.

The Director of Free Movement and Tourism of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Sanoh N'faly who represented the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador James Victor Gbeho, praised members of the task force for their commitment and explained that the objective of the task force is to improve mobility within the region, especially along the Lagos-Seme border shared by Nigeria and Benin Republic.

He expressed the willingness of the Commission to assist the task force realize its mandate of removing obstacles to intra-Community movement of citizens, goods and services, given the new ECOWAS Vision of citizen-driven regional integration project 2020.

"Our challenge is to reconcile the security imperatives in the region with the requirements for unhindered movement of Community citizens", the director added.

The task force members will undertake a trip along the Lagos-Seme route for a first-hand experience of challenges to cross-border movement. They will also discuss with stakeholders including security operatives, meet with heads of security organizations in Lagos and develop a work plan to facilitate free movement along the regional corridor.


Source: Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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