FG to enforce ECOWAS free trade protocol

FG to enforce ECOWAS free trade protocol

By Patience Danjuma 

The Federal Government is reviewing the enforcement of processes and certifications of foreigners entering Nigeria under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Free Movement of Goods and Persons Protocol.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this on Thursday at Nigeria Customs Service Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada in Abuja where he presented certificates to about 40 senior Customs officers after a five-month training tagged ‘Senior Division Course 1’.

Osinbajo who was the special guest of honour at the ceremony said government was working with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other agencies to review the Protocol through which herdsmen and livestock from other countries enter Nigeria to ensure they are duly certified and identified.

He said, “We are also working with customs and immigration and other forces and service agencies to take second look at the movement of livestock and herders from our neighbours under the ECOWAS Free Movement of Goods and Persons Protocol.”

He noted that in the past the checks and certification required are hardly done. “So people and herders could move in from the North of Africa but most times, when they move in, all of the required certifications, identifications and processes that should be done under the protocol have never really been effected.

“So we are working now to ensure that all of those are done and that the protocol is not abused in a way that it was done in the past.

“It is important for us to ensure that while we respect international treaties, when those treaties threaten our territorial integrity, peace and security that we take very stringent action on this and that is precisely what we are doing now with the active collaboration of Customs and Immigration,” he explained.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) said the course has laid stronger foundation for middle management positions as key resources persons from Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji were deployed by the Chief of Defence to assist the NCS.

Commandant of the College, ACG Eporwei Edike said the five-month training started in January 2018 and was modelled after the Senior Course at AFCSC Jaji.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai urged the Service to consider young and vibrant officers at the rank of Superintendents and below while assuring that the Nigeria Army will continue to collaborate with Customs.

He lauded the NCS for prompt clearance of its hardware and ammunitions at the ports.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar also advised that young crops of trained officers will have greater impact on the Service noting that building human capacity is key to the success of the Service.  

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