“As an ECOWAS citizen you are entitled to enter any ECOWAS member state without a visa let alone pay any amount to any Immigration officer as far as you hold valid travelling documents.”
That is according to the Programme Manager of the International Organization for Migration, the UN Migration Agency, Nigeria Frantz Celestin.
He spoke to Empire News at the opening of a three day training workshop on Investigative Journalism and Reporting on Free Movement and Migration in Takoradi for media practitioners and other stakeholders in the Western Region.
The ECOWAS Instrument, specifically the 79 protocol makes it imperative for members’ states to enjoy free movement of persons and migration within the West African Sub Region.
A citizen of member states can therefore make it a point to argue his or her right to enjoy free movement at borders and other points of destination across the Region.
Mr. Frantz insisted that citizens of ECOWAS countries can move for sanctions against other member states whose Immigration Officers engaged in extortions at ECOWAS boarders.
“You can involve your Embassies in the said country to let such Immigration Officials to back down on such demands”
The training is funded by the European Union and ECOWAS Commission within the Framework of the Project Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa to enable Journalist tell the stories of migrants suffering various degrees of human rights abuse.
It was organized by the Media Response with support from IOM.OIM, the International Center for Migration Policy Development, ILO, and CEDEAO
Sam Dodoo, Executive Director of Media Response says the training will center on the techniques of investigative reporting, objective reporting as well as techniques to carry out various data mining to extract information.
The journalist will also constitute a network to be guided in migration reporting to be able to tell the stories of migrants.
“After the three days training the participants are going to be constituted into a network known as the network for journalist in migration, they are going to be guided to be able to do various projects which involves investigative journalism in the area of free movement of persons as well as migrants right so that people who are abused just because they have moved from one place to the other their stories can be heard”.