- Category: Latest
- Published on Monday, 25 June 2012 13:24
- Written by Elombah.com
An ECOWAS Information and Sensitization workshop for government officials and non-state actors has ended in Accra, Ghana with the participants calling on Member States to ensure effective implementation of the regional free movement protocol, through
reducing and ultimately eliminating “harassment, corruption and extortion by border agents.”
The implementation of the ECOWAS flagship Protocol on Free Movement of
Persons, Goods, and the Rights of Residence and Establishment, which
makes the region the only one with a visa-free regime in Africa, faces
some impediments mostly extortions and multiple road blocks mounted by
security officials of Member States along the regional road corridors.
As a solution, the three-day workshop which ended on Friday 22nd June
2012 recommended that Member States should install security cameras at
border posts to check the extortion of monies from travellers.
Information and complaints desks should also be created at entry
points to address issues of violations and abuse of community
citizens’ rights, while trans-border traders should be educated on
various community protocols.
In addition, Member States are urged to harmonize their laws and
policies in conformity with ECOWAS protocols and decisions to
facilitate compliance and implementation.
They should also integrate the values of ECOWAS into their educational
curricula to inculcate the sense of Community into citizens while
efforts should be expedited towards the early introduction of a single
currency, in view of its critical role in fostering intra-regional
The workshop participants called on the ECOWAS Commission to adopt the
bottom-up approach with greater involvement of ordinary citizens in
the formulation and implementation of its programmes.
The Commission is further urged to pursue efforts at reviewing the
mandate of the ECOWAS Parliament to “enhance its process with a view
to transforming it into a legislative body” and in regards to its role
in regional peace and security.
The participants equally called on the Commission to address the
challenges of youth unemployment, promote cultural exchanges among
Member States and consider the establishment of Radio and TV networks
to promote ECOWAS ideals.
The Commission is also urged to institute Award Schemes for
journalists reporting ECOWAS issues and to give serious consideration
to the mainstreaming of gender into its policies.
The Workshop, co-sponsored by the ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS
National Unit, Ghana was opened by Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Regional Integration Honourable Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, who called
on community citizens to assume ownership and participate actively in
the implementation of ECOWAS regional integration programmes.
For implementation of regional integration programmes to succeed,
Hournorable Mumuni, represented by Ambassador Leslie Kodjo Christian,
the Chief Director in the ministry said it must be “people-driven and
In his welcome address, the ECOWAS Acting Director of Communication,
Mr. Sunny Ugoh, said the workshop, which was started some 15 years ago
was part of ongoing efforts to engage citizens so as to and encourage
and promote their ownership of community programmes in line with the
objectives of a citizen-driven community and Vision 2020.
The workshop was attended governmental and non-State actors, officials
of Ghana immigration and customs services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and Integration, ECOWAS Commission, Community Court of Justice and
Parliament, ECOWAS Health Organization, representatives of
non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, traders,
market women, students associations and the media among others.