The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, has said that it would halt irregular migration in the West African region through the strengthening of the private sector.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo, stated this in Niamey, Republic of Niger during a three-day Parliamentary Sensitisation Forum on Migration in West Africa.
He said that the issue of irregular migration is a burning issue which must be urgently tackled.
Parliamentarians at the forum called on leaders of the West African region to play their roles in creating the best conditions for youths in order to halt the issue of irregular migration.
The Speaker of the regional parliament, Mr. Cisse Lo recalled that in 2018, the Parliament was in Agadez on a mission to meet with immigrants and refugees, including the authorities.
He also recalled a similar mission where the Parliament met with the Speaker of the Nigerien Parliament and the President of the Republic of Niger.
The President suggested a forum on the issue and to submit the conclusions to the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
Mr. Cisse Lo further reiterated the parliament’s commitment to resolve the issue of irregular migration before the end of the 4th legislature.
He stated that the Parliament would do everything possible at a very steady pace, to conclude the work and help the West African populace.
While noting that migration cannot be halted totally, the Speaker said that migration was from the very dawn of civilisation.
“There has always been migration since the ancient days because people move from north to south, Europe to Asia, Asia to Africa. It is a natural phenomenon.”
“So, every State should play its role. Its role is to create the best conditions so that the youths can adapt; in other words, settle down, do some work and I think this is why we should give some indications because the areas of the Sahel where it rains, they can go into animal husbandry or agriculture and add value to the land.
“Normally, if the State doesn’t create jobs, it is the private sector.
“So, we have to strengthen the private sector and make sure that we make land available and then provide all the regulations for them to accede to assistance so that they can build themselves up in agriculture and animal husbandry. So, that is my suggestion,” the Speaker said.
Mr. Cisse Lo further said there was the need to sensitize the youths on irregular migration.
He stressed that the States had to envisage in their budgets, the creation of conditions that would make it possible for the youths to work and also strengthen the private sector to create jobs.
Threat to free movement
The President of the Nigerien National Assembly, Ousseni Tinni said irregular migration was a threat which prevented free movement of people and goods.
Mr. Tinni called for the creation of conditions that would make migration not to be a clandestine or criminal phenomenon.
He also urged the ECOWAS Parliament to ratify the charter on irregular migration for member countries.
“We need to act with strength in order to address this crisis which has made human beings more of goods. Niger will leave no stone unturned and spare no resources to ensure that the country being the transit route to the sub-Saharan countries, halt the issue of irregular migration,” Tinni said.
Mr. Tinni added that there was the need to face the realities of today and looked at the positives of migration regarding the region.