ECOWAS endorses proposal for establishment of migration training academy
The heads of immigration services of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have endorsed the proposal by the Nigerian government for the establishment a Migration Training Academy.
This follows the sub-regional body’s effort to effectively manage migration and emerging trends associated with movement of persons across borders. They also called for the setting up of a committee to implement a strategy on the ECO Visa and determine a timeframe for its convergence.
The regional immigration heads said that all major airports in the region should be linked continuously with the database of the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL).
The final recommendations, which were read by ECOWAS Head of Division, Free Movement and Migration, Tony Luka Elumelu, at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, stressed the importance of regional progress in the implementation of ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol’s effectiveness of free movement, border and data management and sharing, regional coordination, as well as monitoring and reporting.
Chiefs of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) headquarters and its Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Centre (CERPAC) signed the official version of the recommendations.
Noting the importance of exchange of travel documents specimens among member states to aid clearance and check fraudulent use of travel documents, they maintained that the immigration service should issue travel documents to all travellers, including minors.
They also recommended that ECOWAS should adopt a common approach for the protection of children to monitor and combat abuses and human trafficking.
They also called for the inclusion of immigration in the national security architecture in member states and the provision of dedicated counters for ECOWAS citizens alongside nationals of member states in addition to joint investigation to combat transnational crimes.
Besides suing for the establishment of a migration data management unit within ECOWAS, the chiefs recommended that a checklist on the annual assessment on Free Movement Protocol should be developed and shared with member states.
This should include an assessment of the protocol, which should be implemented by an independent body to ensure that ECOWAS and its member states were assessed in the process.