Nigeria: ECOWAS reviews flagship free movement protocol

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - ECOWAS has launched a review of its flagship free movement protocol to eliminate the requirement for residence permit which has been a source of “discrimination and harassment” of community citizens, ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Ouédraogo has said.

The 35-year-old Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, the Right of Residence and Establishment entitles community citizens to visit countries within the region for 90 days without visa, making ECOWAS the only Regional Economic Community in Africa with such a visa-free regime.

Under the protocol, citizens enjoy the right of entry, stay, residence, establishment and access to the Community Court of Justice, but some challenges have been reported in the implementation.

“We hope the revised instrument will be signed during the next summit of regional leaders so that our people can feel as one people,” the President said during the accreditation of the Ambassador of Burkina Faso to Nigeria, Firmin Gregoire N’do, as the country’s Special Representative to ECOWAS.

The ECOWAS chief praised President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso for his immense contributions to the resolution of various crises in the region, notably Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea and Mali.

Responding, the envoy, who was among four Ambassadors accredited at separate ceremonies, lauded President Ouédraogo for the dynamism he and his team have brought to the leadership of the Commission since his assumption of duty about two years ago.

He also pledged his readiness to work with the Commission to realise the ECOWAS objectives.

PANA reports that other Ambassadors who were accredited were Argentine Ambassador Gustavo Alejandro Dzugala, Italian Ambassador Fulvic Rustico and Ambassador Ali Abas Bander Al-Amery of Iraq.
-0- PANA SEG 15May2014

15 may 2014 00:04:35

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