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The Federal Government has pledged to support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Commission in the implementation of its labour and employment programmes and policies in the Region.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja when he received the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Matters, Dr Siga Fatima Jagni, on a courtesy visit to the Ministry.

According to him, “the government and people of Nigeria are an integral part of the ECOWAS, and we will not shirk in our responsibilities in that direction.”

He commended the efforts of the Commission in forging unity in the Region and pledgedNigeria’s continued support to the Commission in realizing its mandate.

Ngige, who assured that Nigeria would support and adhere to all ECOWAS Labour Migration and Employment policies, also called for the proper legalization of such policies, so that people would not be short-changed and unduly harassed when they export their skills in the region.

On the election of President Muhammadu Buhari as the Chairman of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, the Minister noted that the region stood to gain immeasurably from his chairmanship.

The Minister said: “We have a President who has zero tolerance for corruption, with a lot of credibilities. So, his appointment into the ECOWAS by his colleagues is a step in the right direction.”

Earlier, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Matters, Dr Siga Fatima Jagne, said her visit was necessitated by the need to seek the support of the Minister for the implementation of labour and employment programmes and policies in the region.

She further stated that her visit was also to specifically request the Ministry’s collaboration in organizing the forthcoming 2018 General Assembly of the Social Dialogue Forum/Meeting of ECOWAS Ministers in charge of labour and employment, with the theme: “Strengthening Social Dialogue for the Promotion of Decent Work in the ECOWAS region,” scheduled to hold in Abuja in December, 2018.

She congratulated Nigeria on the election of President Muhammadu Buhari as the current Chairman of Authority of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

In his remarks, the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Prof. Stephen Ocheni, said that Nigeria, as the centre of ECOWAS, would continue to play its leading role in the region, particularly in economic development.

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