ABUJA: THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has launched the process for the review of its flagship free movement protocol.
This is aimed at eliminating the requirement for residence permit which has been a source of discrimination and harassment of community citizens.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Desire Ouédraogo, disclosed the move.
“We hope the revised instrument will be signed during the next summit of regional leaders so that our people can feel as one people,” he said during the accreditation of Burkina Faso Ambassador to Nigeria, Firmin Gregoire N’do, as the country’s Special Representative to ECOWAS.
The 35-year-old Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, the Right of Residence and Establishment entitles community citizens to visit countries within the region for 90 days without a visa, making ECOWAS the only Regional Economic Community in Africa with such a visa-free regime.
Under the protocol, citizens enjoy the right of entry, stay, residence, establishment and access to the Community Court of Justice, but some challenges have been reported in the implementation.
The ECOWAS head meanwhile praised President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso for his immense contributions to the resolution of various crises in the region, notably Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea and Mali.
Ambassador N’do lauded President Ouédraogo for the dynamism he and his team have brought to the leadership of the Commission since his assumption of duty about two years ago.
He also pledged his readiness to work with the Commission to realize the ECOWAS objectives.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY