Omo-Agege justifies border closure

• Says it's in national interest

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has said the closure of the nation borders enjoyed the blessings of the national assembly.

He made the declaration in his keynote address at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Conference in Abuja on Friday.

Represented by his Special Adviser on Legislative and Plenary, Prince Efe Duku, at the event, Omo-Agege said the decisive measure was needed to curb threats posed by an influx of small arms, illegal activities of veterans of various armed conflicts and flagrant breach of ECOWAS Protocols prohibiting the trans-shipment of imported goods through other ECOWAS countries’ borders.

Senator Omo-Agege further stressed the need for government to be pro-active to ensure citizens’ safety.

“There are however areas the Parliament needs to take a closer and firmer look at; paramount is the issue of intra-regional, as well as intra-national security of member states.

“For example, there is need for harmony between the central economic integration tenet of free movement of persons as guaranteed by Protocol A/P.1/5/79, and the rights of individual member nations to protect their interests where internal security is threatened as guaranteed in Article 10 of the ECOWAS Protocol on movement of persons which frowns at the presence of persons from another/other member countries prejudicing the rules and regulations of host countries.

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“Together with other relevant Articles of the Protocol, it guarantees the right of such host countries to take measures to redress such anomalies.

“A good example is the current conversation on Nigeria’s action, consistent with the provisions of Article 10 and its sovereign right, of temporarily closing her land borders in response to serious irregularities attending the movement of goods and persons across our borders. We can recall that the ECOWAS Parliament in a recent resolution called on Nigeria to reopen these borders.

“Whilst we prefer to build bridges of regional integration, we agree with the Government of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari that all Member States have a bounden duty to comply fully with the letters and spirit of the Revised Protocol.

“That way, national and regional economies and the high aim of regional integration would be safe rather than unduly threatened by the action of Member States who breach the Protocol,” Senator Ovie Omo-Agege stated.

Senator Omo-Agege emphasized that there was no rationale for breaching ECOWAS’ protocol, attacking Nigerians or allowing unjustified risks against Nigeria’s security and economic well-being.

The event, organised by the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation, was themed: ‘The Role of Parliaments in Supranational Communities: An ECOWAS Perspective’.

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