In a recent statement released by Interior Ministry’s Director of Press, Afonja Ajibola, The Minister of Interior, where a delegation from African Union met with the Minister Of interior and other key officials of the Ministry of Interior.
The Minister criticized the continent’s restrictions on the movement of goods and people. He explained that insurgency in the Sahel region was one of the reasons Nigeria was reluctant to rectify the free movement protocol, adding that the country had introduced a new visa-on-arrival policy to ease movement in the country. The Minister assured the African Union of Nigeria’s willingess to work with the organization to achieve free movement of people within West African countries.
The ousting of the Libyan leader in 2011 during the Arab Spring according to the Minister brought about a security breach in Nigeria via the proliferation of arms, leading to full-blown insurgencies. In furtherance of the realisation of free movement across the sub-region, the Nigerian government has introduced a visa-on-arrival policy to expedite movement.’’
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, also added that the Nigerian government’s hesitance to implement the protocol was largely due to insecurity, but he assured the team that consultation is ongoing with other stakeholders on actualising the free movement of persons and goods across the region.
Earlier in her remarks, the leader of the delegation, Rita Amokhobu, Political Officer, Department of Political Affairs African Union Commission, revealed that their visit is to inform the Minister of the outcome of their visit to the Benin-Seme border, which she said has accorded them the opportunity to gather information on how Nigeria complies with the treaty of the African Union on the free movement of persons and goods. She applauded Nigerian government for mounting facilities around its borders, which according to her, encourages movements across its entry points. Unfortunately, she pointed out that most of these gadgets were not functioning adequately due to erratic power supply at the border lines.