A 35-man Delegation from the ECOWAS Parliament is expected to visit the Liberian-Sierra Leonean (Bo-Waterside) and the Liberian-Guinean (Ganta) Borders, in Grand Cape Mount and Nimba Counties respectively from September 28-30, 2018.
According to a release, Liberia Head of Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, Bomi County District one Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, disclosed that the visit is intended to afford members of the Parliament an opportunity to assess the conditions associated with the movement of the peoples of the communities transiting from one country to the other.
The release further quotes Representative Snowe as saying the visit will help strengthen trade and commerce across the region.
He said the visit is part of the delocalized meeting of the Sub-Regional Parliament spearheaded by the Committee on Information, Technology and Broadcasting.
“Members of the delegation will interact with the locals, commuters and security personnel along the border lines and also tour local media institutions across Liberia.
The Parliamentarians will also assess the movement of ECOWAS’ citizens in Liberia and how they are treated by Liberian security apparatus at the various areas of residence,” the release quotes Representative Snowe.
The delegation will on Friday, September 28, 2018 depart Monrovia for the Liberian-Sierra Leonean (Bo-Waterside) Border and leave for Ganta-Guinea Border on Saturday, September 29, 2018.
It can be recalled ECOWAS member States in May 1979 adopted their first protocol relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishment.
It stipulated the right of ECOWAS citizens to enter, reside and establish economic activities in the territory of other member states and offers a three-step roadmap of five years each to achieve freedom of movement of persons after fifteen years.
The first phase regards the right of visa-free entry, phase two dealt with the right of residency, and phase three concerns the right of establishment in another member State. The first phase has been fully implemented. The second phase, the right of residency, has also been implemented, given that citizens had obtained an ECOWAS residence card or permit in fellow member States. The third phase, the right of establishment, is still under implementation in most member States.
To facilitate the free movement of people in the ECOWAS region, member States established a common passport, formally known as the ECOWAS travel certificate. The ECOWAS passport was introduced in December 2000 to exempt holders from intra-regional visa requirements and to function as an international travel document.
The member States are currently in the process of implementing a joint visa for non-ECOWAS citizens that cover the whole region, the Eco-Visa.
ECOWAS has also implemented measures to ease the movement of persons transported in private and commercial vehicles by harmonizing policies that enable vehicles to enter and temporary reside in a member State for up to ninety and fifteen days respectively. Most ECOWAS member States have, in this regard, instituted the ECOWAS brown card, which is an insurance of motor vehicles that covers the civil responsibly of the owner in the ECOWAS region.