ECOWAS begins advocacy and sensitization campaign on ENBIC and the fight against trafficking in persons24 Apr, 2019
Abuja, 24th April 2019. The Free Movement and Humanitarian Directorates of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commenced a four-day advocacy and sensitization campaign on 23rd April 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria on the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC) and the fight against Trafficking in Persons in the region.
The campaign which is within the framework of the ECOWAS-European Union project “support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration (FMM) in West Africa” and in collaboration with the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) includes outreach programmes in Benin and Togo which seeks to raise awareness among community citizens about the ENBIC and its role in the facilitation of the free movement of people, goods and services as well as the fight against Trafficking in Persons in the region.
The ENBIC has been adopted as a valid travel document by ECOWAS Member States and will serve to improve data management at ECOWAS borders thereby curbing illegal migration and providing a more secure region.
The Commission’s Director for Free Movement, Albert Siaw-Boateng while addressing drivers from the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria during a roundtable meeting, stated that the ENBIC is a vital instrument towards the actualization of a borderless community.
The Director mentioned that so far the ENBIC has been deployed in Ghana, Senegal and Guinea Bissau, with Nigeria and Benin soon to follow.
Also addressing the participants of the meeting, IOM’s Chief of mission to Nigeria, Frantz Celestin underscored the importance of the advocacy and sensitization campaign to community citizen.
The IOM chief stressed that part of IOM’s mandate is to promote and ensure orderly and human migration. “With cases of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants happening at the borders and motor parks, transporters and drivers can play a pivotal role in ensuring all passengers are in possession of valid travel documents and take necessary steps to report cases of human trafficking and smuggling”, he said.
Hence, the Assistant Comptroller General of the NIS Mohammed Alfa and the Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, who were also in attendance of the meeting furnished the transporters with telephone numbers for help lines in order to report incidents.
Speaking on behalf of the transporters, Henry Oyinlola called for increased synergy and cooperation between security agencies and the drivers with emphasis on information sharing. He however thanked the ECOWAS Commission and its partners for the initiative.
The roundtable meeting was preceded by the handing over of publicity items to the transporters by the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne as well has the unveiling of the ENBIC banner at Mile 2, Lagos State.