FG, ECOWAS Strategise On Combating Extortion At Borders

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In a bid to strategise and fight against extortion along borders, particularly the Lagos-Abidjan corridor, the Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Muhammad Babandede and the president of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza are seeking co-operation in organising a summit of Heads of Immigration in the West African sub-region  to discuss issues of safe migration.

A statement singed by deputy comptroller of Immigration Service Public Relations Officer, Ekpedeme King, reads in part:”  the issue of corruption was discussed at the recent retreat by the Nigeria Immigration  Service in Kano where it was resolved that one of the ways to support the ease of doing business in Nigeria as well as promote the integration process in the sub-region was to rid our borders of corrupt practices. He added that, in the case of Nigeria there was no better time to implement the anti-corruption reforms than now that President Muhammadu Buhari is in the saddle.

“Babandede deplored the negative perception of security agencies along the Lagos- Abidjan corridor saying that since he resumed office as CGI he has introduced reforms in the services NIS renders to eliminate corrupt practices and improve on service delivery. He also pointed out that failure of all states in the sub-region to domesticate agreements reached by ECOWAS has resulted in mistrust and lack of co-operation to the extent that if a fugitive crosses the border to another state, he is a free person. He therefore called for further co-operation amongst security agencies across the borders.”

Responding, the President of the Commission, Marcel Souza, proposed a common database for security agencies of the sub-region or a command center that will facilitate access to each country’s database as a way of collaboration on security issues. The President said further, that his commission was considering the idea of introducing CCTV cameras along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor to militate against activities of human trafficking, smuggling in persons and goods.

Both parties also considered the development of a common manual for all immigration training schools in the sub-region which will be the basis of a standard operation procedure for all immigration operatives.  They also agreed to set up a technical committee comprising ECOWAS and NIS officials to commence preparations for the summit of Heads of Immigration Agencies in the sub-region. The Technical committee is expected to develop the action plan and working documents that would lead to the summit.


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