The ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement and Implications for Border Security Management of the Nigeria-Benin Borders
Keywords:ECOWAS Protocol, Transnational organized crimes, free movement, border security
This paper interrogates the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement and the implications for border security management of the Nigeria-Benin borders. The ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons was enacted in 1979 to ensure the free flow of persons, goods and services deemed crucial to attaining economic integration. Despite the benefits of the Protocol including promotion of free trade and commerce as well as easy exchange of human resources across the border, severe challenges still persist including the concomitant increase in Transnational Organized Crimes (TOCs) that are a signature of African borders. Human trafficking is a particularly notorious crime that this paper pays attention to due to the emphasis by the ECOWAS Common Approach to Migration of 2008. Porosity of the borders and inefficient border facilities are also obstacles. Unofficial routes have sprung up thereby compounding the issue of policing these borders. It is important that the governments of Nigeria and Benin and the ECOWAS authorities begin to reconsider the effects of the protocol in the light of the current realities. This paper makes the case for a more proactive implementation of the ECOWAS protocol by installation and maintenance of sound border facilities, creation of an external border for the region and an efficient information management system in the region.