An NGO, Network Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), has called on ECOWAS member countries to immediately review the protocol on movement of persons and goods in the sub-region, to curb human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
Mr Abdulganiyu Abubakar, President NACTAL, made up of 155 registered organisations, made the call on Wednesday while speaking to newsmen in Keffi, at the closing session of a two-day workshop for media professionals on raising awareness on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM).
The workshop was organised by International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), a Spanish public foundation, currently working through Actions Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM).
Abubakar said that from the observation, interactions and review by the NGOs under NACTAL, the free movement protocol was aiding the movement of traffickers, criminals and bandits into other countries and around West Africa.
“We have come to understand that the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of persons and goods is actually contributing to this menace of trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, exploitation and child abuse. Our land borders are very porous, except economically vibrant borders like the Idi-Iroko, Seme border that are well policed.
“But even at this, because of the resources that exchanges hands, a lot of security agents, who don’t mean well for this country compromise our security.
“This is not too good for a country like Nigeria, and until we address the security challenges at the border we can’t address the menace of trafficking,” he said.
He stressed the need to review the protocol to curb the trend of trafficking and other smuggling activities, especially by strengthening security at the border whereby every movement of people and goods would thoroughly be scrutinized.
He added that security agencies must also ensure that anybody moving into another country would not pose as a liability to the country he or she is moving into.