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ECOWAS tasked on mixed flow of persons in W/Africa

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Members of the Economic Community of West African
States, ECOWAS, have been urged to strategise by
undertaking a thorough appraisal and analysis of all the
factors responsible for mixed flows of persons such as
refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants,
smuggled persons, victims of trafficking and stranded
migrants among others in the West Africa sub-region.
The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the
ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Babatunde
Nuredeem made the call at the opening of a two-day
retreat jointly organised by the ECOWAS and the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, for
Permanent Representatives Committee, PRC, of the
ECOWAS in Uyo.
He tasked the participants at the 2019 ECOWAS
Ambassadors retreat to come up with lasting and
durable solutions aimed at mitigating the scourge in the
sub-region if not completely eliminated.
Nuredeem who doubles as Chair of the PRC noted that
the theme of the retreat “Mixed Flows and Durable
Solutions in ECOWAS Region” is apt, relevant and very
contemporary which should engage the attention all.

He identified political instability as a major factor that
aided the flow of migrants in and out of members’ states
of the West Africa sub-region.
“Without any iota of doubt, the Political Architecture in
our sub-region has been responsible for several
agitations against marginalisation coupled with the tight
syndrome of some of our political leaders which
eventually lead to incessant outbreaks of restiveness,
insurgency, terrorism, intrastate violence in the forms of
ethno-religious, political criminal as well as struggle for
scarce resources,” he said.
He lauded the ECOWAS Commission and the UNHCR
for their determination to address myriads of
humanitarian problems bedeviling the sub-region with
focus on refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons
and internally displaced persons, IDPs, being common
problems in virtually all the countries within the West
African sub-region including Nigeria.
Speaking in the same vein, the President of the
ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou
said the perilous journeys through the desert and the
Mediterranean by the migrants had resulted in the loss
of lives and enslavement of the people which is a
challenge that must be confronted.
Brou who was represented by the Commissioner for
Social Affairs and Gender of the Commission, Dr. Siga
Fatima Jagne stressed the need to provide the
conducive environment to encourage youth to engage in
meaningful activities that will provide them self-
employment.

Declaring the retreat open, Governor Udom Emmanuel
of Akwa Ibom expressed optimism that the joint
ECOWAS-UNHCR activities on issues bordering on
refugees and migration, capacity building measures will
expand the ideas in tackling the problems as identified.
Emmanuel, who was represented by the Secretary to
the State Government, SSG, Mr. Emmanuel Ekuwen
said government must put the necessary measures in
action to stem the refugee issue.

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