ECOWAS Parliament urges Nigeria to reopen borders
The ECOWAS Parliament yesterday renewed its call on the Nigerian government to reopen its borders, stating that the development was hampering the implementation of the free movement of persons and goods within the West Africa sub-region.
The Speaker, Moustapha Cisse Lo, made the call in his opening address to the 2019 Second Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the Parliament in Abuja.
He explained that the closure was impeding the actualisation of the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons.
“I reiterate my call for the opening of the borders between our states and the observance of the protocol on the free movement of persons and goods in the region, which aims to facilitate trade liberalisation and removal of trade barriers between our state and our people,” he stated.
Lo, however, commended the initiation of the tripartite meeting between Nigeria, Niger and Benin Republic.
“I also welcome the tripartite meeting held between Nigeria, Niger, and Benin here in Abuja as well as the initial resolutions aimed at putting in place a permanent framework for dialogue to address all the aspirations of the parties,” the speaker added.
The Federal Government had ordered the partial closure of its borders due to the massive smuggling on the Benin Republic corridor.
The ongoing event is considering the budget of ECOWAS institutions. The session is to consider the draft consolidated budget of the community for the 2020 fiscal year.
In his goodwill message, Senate President Ahmad Lawal commended the Parliament for its resolution of the several challenges confronting the region.
Represented by his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege, he urged the body not to shirk its duties of ensuring good governance, probity, and accountability among ECOWAS member-states.
In his remarks, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, who was represented by the Commissioner of Finance, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, condemned the continued attacks by terrorists and armed groups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
Besides, a panel of discussants yesterday disagreed on the closure. While two supported the exercise, the other two opposed the move.
The forum was organised by the Consolidated Chapel of the Ogun State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as part activities to mark this year’s World Television Day in Abeokuta.
However, the Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, has backed the exercise, noting that unfair trade practices by some neighbouring West African nations were undermining the domestic production of goods in Nigeria.
Aremu, who spoke yesterday at an event to mark the Africa Industrialisation Day (AID) in Kaduna, stated that smuggling and dumping had assumed a frightening dimension in the country.
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