ECOWAS heads of immigration meet in Abuja

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) is currently hosting Heads of ECOWAS Immigration in Abuja to a meeting to review the irregularities in the system as well as improve data sharing.

The brainstorming is coming at a time that the 16 member bloc is threatened by porous borders as well as the menace of insurgency.

The mass migration poses danger to peace in West Africa particularly with on-going security challenges that which pose a threat to corporate existence of Africa as region.

The recommendations from the meeting could go a long way in enhancing peace and stability.

The Comptroller General of Nigeria’s Immigration Service, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, said on Friday that all immigration agencies will work closely together to deliver smooth intelligence gathering.

The ECOWAS heads of Immigration which was inaugurated in 2015 is meant to bring together officials of the immigration service by comparing experiences and solving issues of interest.

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In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government to mark its 40th Anniversary.

However, this year the meeting intends to focus on security challenges in ECOWAS countries, unemployment, rights of residents among other things.

Gathered at the meeting are diplomats, top immigration officials, drawn from different countries.

Also in attendance are Nigeria’s ministers, service chiefs, and security officials.

Mr. Geoffery Onyema, Foreign Affairs Minister, who represented the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, in his remarks, commended ECOWAS heads for organising such a meeting.

He stressed it will strengthen the bond that exists between ECOWAS members and emphasised the sharing of intelligence amongst members.

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He acknowledged that the borders were currently facing security challenges and the need to develop a mechanism to facilitate free movement across our borders.

Nigeria, he said, will host a Migration Training Academy for the region and that a large expanse of land has been reserved for purpose in Tugga, Kebbi State.

The Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) Border Management Working Group had begun a two-Day meeting in Abuja preparatory to the Heads of Immigration Meeting.

The Group convened on August 1 to review and make recommendations on the implementation of the Protocol of Free Movement of Persons, migration and irregular migration management as well as regional data sharing.

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