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Good news for Community citizens!

Jul 16, 2014, 10:30 AM

During last week’s 45th ordinary summit held in Accra, Ghana, ECOWAS leaders considered and endorsed the proposal by the ministers in charge of security in member states for the abolition of the residence permit requirements for community citizens.

ECOWAS was founded to promote regional integration, as one of the building blocks on the road to full continental unification.

The mid-year summit of ECOWAS leaders on 10th July 2014 gave a boost towards attainment of that goal, when it approved the ministerial proposal for a region-wide biometric identity card system for citizens.

Community citizens generally will, no doubt, welcome the good news that the ECOWAS Authority has approved the abolition of the residence permit, and the introduction of the biometric identity card for them.

The card with biometric features, it is expected, will facilitate intra-community movement of citizens, without compromising security.

The ministers in charge of security have been directed “to review all the security implications of the measure prior to the signing of the Supplementary Acts”, according to the summit communiqué.

The proposal by the ministers of internal affairs of member states is part of the reforms to the ECOWAS flagship 1978 protocol.

It seeks to resolve one of the impediments to the implementation of the regional protocol on the free movement of persons, right of residence and establishment.

We learned this protocol has made ECOWAS the only Regional Economic

Community (REC) in Africa with a visa-free regime.

We have a duty to increase citizens’ awareness of such crucial developments, and are quite happy to play our part in spreading this good news to all community citizens.

“I would heartily welcome the union of East and West provided it is not based on brute force”.

Mahatma Gandhi