By Bimbo Ogunnaike
The Speaker of Economic Community of West African States Parliament, (ECOWAS), Moustapha Cisse, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari government to reopen its borders.
Cisse said the closure of the borders will affect implementation of free trade movement within the ECOWAS region.
The plea came from the Speaker of the ECOWAS via a statement he issued on Monday where he urged the Nigerian government to find a lasting solution to the issue of smuggling instead of closing the borders.
“In the same vein, the closure of the Nigerian borders with Benin more than a month ago and Niger more recently is a hindrance to the achievement of the Community’s main objective, which is to achieve the creation of a prosperous, borderless West African region where peace and harmony prevail,” the statement added.
“The ECOWAS Parliament calls for compliance with Community provisions and thus calls for the reopening of borders and a coordinated fight against smuggling in the region. The root causes of this recurrent situation must be studied with a view to finding a permanent solution,”ECOWAS speaker said.
Equally, he condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, describing it as a threat to African integration.
“At the time of our session, serious events are taking place on our continent and should be given special attention. Indeed, in South Africa, in recent weeks, we have witnessed an upsurge in extremely violent xenophobic acts.These sad images of Africa, these painful events and the tensions they generate challenge us as elected representatives of our peoples, we are extremely concerned and deeply outraged,” Cisse said.
“The ECOWAS Parliament calls on the South African authorities to assume their responsibility by guaranteeing all their foreign nationals the right to life, physical integrity and free movement. We also call on all African States and the African Union to adopt diligent initiatives to restore peace and security and ensure a return to calm in South Africa and all other States, “Cisse said.
Also, he expressed the readiness of the Parliament to discuss the 2020 budget of the ECOWAS Community.