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‘African leaders’ sit-tight syndrome cause of migration in ECOWAS sub-region’

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Political instability due to African leaders’ sit-tight syndrome has caused restiveness, insurgency, interstate violence and terrorism, which ultimately lead to migration of families in the West African region.

The situation is also responsible for the unprecedented number of refugees within the sub-region, as migrants always move out of their home countries to save their lives and property.

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Babatunde Nurudeen, disclosed this at the ongoing 2019 Retreat of ECOWAS-UNHCR with the theme: Mixed Flows and Durable Solutions in ECOWAS Region, at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Nurudeen, who doubles as Chairman of Permanent Representatives, noted that the flow of migrants due to socio-political upheavals has led to displacement of people who have to leave their state just to save their lives and property.He lamented that those mostly affected by the development are youths who are the region’s expected future leaders.He also noted that to curb the migration problem in the sub-region, it was necessary for ECOWAS to have the retreat bi-annually, as it would give the body opportunity to review achievements of previous meetings.

Speaking, United Nations (UN) High Commission for Refugees Regional Representative for West Africa, Ms. Liz Ahua, said UNHCR-ECOWAS Ambassadors retreat remained one of the avenues to take stock of progress since the relationship began 12 years ago.

Earlier, President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, noted that the retreat was timely and the theme apt, especially now that citizens of the region have taken it upon themselves to move to other climes in search of the ‘golden fleece’.Brou, who was represented by Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr. Siga Jagne, pointed out that the travels through the desert and Mediterranean Sea have led to many losing their lives and sometimes resulting to enslavement, stressing that such dangerous migrations should be stopped by finding a lasting solution to it.

Declaring the retreat open, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, stressed that government at all levels should formulate policies that would helped stem refugee issues.


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