ECOWAS To Review Movement Treaty over Farmers/ Herders Clash:
London, April 10, 2018 (AltAfrika)-In what could be described as last minute response to the deadly and incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) has said it is set to hold a conference aimed at reviewing and making recommendations on the May 1979 Free Movement Treaty as well as sharing regional data.
The minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, made the revelation in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP after commissioning some infrastructural projects at the headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service and decorating the newly promoted Deputy Comptroller of General (DCG), Fariku Juliet.
Dambazau disclosed that the conference, which is slated for April 26, 2018, will be attended by all ministers of Interior and Agriculture from the fifteen ECOWAS states as well as non-member states from Central Africa Republic and a host of others affected by the dreaded activities of herdsmen.
The minister explained that contrary to fears that the review of the treaty may have security implications, the meeting would be approached with all seriousness so that the efforts at the joint tackling of the myriad of immigration challenges confronting the region will yield the desired results.
He said he was optimistic that the conference would treat the issue of irregular migration holistically without criminalising it, considering the contiguous nature of the borders within the region.
Vice president Yemi Osinbajo had recently established a link between the protocol and the spate of killings by herdsmen, suggesting that Nigeria might opt for a review.
This was further corroborated by the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who pointed out that the pact was undermining internal security.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that ECOWAS could break up if Nigeria does not tactfully handle its concerns over the bloc’s Protocol on Free Movement of Persons.
Mr. Augustine Echemi, a security expert, warned that “there is no policy in international relations that does not have a drawback. “What is important is for the member states to understand where problems are and how to tackle them. This call led by the Nigerian government us too risky.”