ECOWAS Immigration Academy to begin operation in Nigeria

Acheme Jack, Kano

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A regional Academy that will further enhance collaboration and build capacity among immigration services in the Economic Community of West African states will soon commence operation.

The comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babbandede said work has reached advanced stage in the plan and constructions  are ongoing at the site of the academy located  in Tuga, Kebbi state north western Nigeria.

The Immigration boss on the sidelines of the passing out ceremony of the 44th Superintendent Basic Course held at the Kano Immigration Training School said that the certificate awarding academy will develop more capacities in border migration management in the ECOWAS sub-region.

“We are taking it for council’s approval, if given the go ahead, we will begin to run it this year because we are already on ground, construction is ongoing and we have the master plan.”

The academy will enhance regional integration and cooperation in West Africa as well as develop the capacity of our officers to speak French and English,” he added.

He said tutorials in the academy will be in English and French stressing that Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone countries but many people are not interested in speaking French at all

It could be recalled that in June 2017 when Nigeria hosted heads of Immigration Services in the ECOWAS region an agreement was reached to establish the Academy.

On the presence of the Comptroller General Ghana Immigration Service at the ceremony, Babbandede said it is part of the on-going collaborative effort as both countries are currently looking into how to “implement certain part of the ECOWAS PROTOCOL which allows third country national to have COMMON VISA like the Schengen Visa.”

“We are exploiting new avenues so that without delay a Ghanaian immigration officer can talk to a Nigerian immigration officer  and vice-versa when there are challenges especially at the airports where we have flights like ARIK and SKY flying in and out of both countries.”  

“We are also trying to share information about people who misbehave in our territories and equally protect human rights of migrants staying in each of the countries.” explained Babbandede.

The comptroller General Ghanaian Immigration service, Kwame Takyi said such advanced forms of collaboration between ECOWAS countries will enhance business and communal ways of living in the sub-region and should be vigorously pursued.

“We have so many Nigerians living and doing businesses in Ghana. Some are even into sports and there are also a lot of inter marriages; the same thing happens in Nigeria.”

“In all these, we need to relate and live in orderly manner by obeying laws. We have our border posts and likewise Nigeria, the collaboration is very important” said Takyi.

ECOWAS is a 15 member regional group in West Africa established in 1975, with agreed protocols to enhance easy trade and movement of persons across the common borders.

Ime Njoku