Participants at a stakeholder meeting to address the Constraints to intra-Community movement of ECOWAS citizens have called for the operationalization and reinforcement of the pilot committees set up in eight Member States and meant to improve the circulation of citizens and stem their harassment at the borders.
At the end of their three-day meeting on Friday, 4th April 2008 in Accra, Ghana, the participants said the operationalization of the two-year old committees in the selected Member States will enable the region determine their efficacy in addressing the identified constraints and inform a recourse to other options.
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria and Togo were selected in 2006 to run pilot committees comprising members of the civil society, manufacturers, the media and other stakeholders that will address general and specific challenges militating against free movement and harassment at the borders.
The effectiveness of the scheme, which is partly funded by the ECOWAS Commission, will be evaluated after 2009 when it is scheduled to wind up.
The stakeholders said the outcome of the evaluation would determine the necessity of extending the scheme to the other Member States. They also spoke of the need for security agents at the borders to wear name tags for identification and for the provision of equipment that will facilitate the processing of travel documents.
Representatives of civil society organizations, the media, manufacturers and ECOWAS National Units, the units responsible for ECOWAS affairs in all the Member States, attended the three-day meeting.
It was part of the stakeholder consultation by the ECOWAS Commission to improve intra-Community movement of Community citizens and reduce the harassment at the borders.