By John Okeke
The Nigerian Government has inaugurated the National Platform on the ECOWAS Cross Border
Cooperation(CBC) Support Programme (2021-2025).
The CBC Support Programme is expected to consolidate cross border relations between Nigeria and her neighbours in the West African sub-region.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Chairman, International Boundaries Technical Committee, Zubairu Dada, at the inauguration this Tuesday said the overall goal of the new ECOWAS Cross Border Cooperation Programme is to strengthen cooperation and good relations amongst ECOWAS member states, in order to ensure free movement of people, goods and services.
He added that there is a consensus understanding that Cross border cooperation is superior to unilateral action in the development of border regions and the facilitation of the much-desired regional integration.
He said the framework between inextricable and contiguous neighbours was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in January 2006 as a necessary mechanism for the transformation of border areas into zones of exchange and bridges of cooperation.
The Minister of State said the National Platform is expected to play a vital role in the coordination of this Programme at the National level, and listed part of the roles and responsibilities of the platform to include: Coordinating and managing national cross border cooperation, and multi-sectoral actions at Local and National Levels.
The representative of the ECOWAS Commission, Ismail Dangu, expressed happiness to see that Nigeria is the first member state to put in place the national platform.
He noted that this shows the engagement of the country to promote cross border cooperation.
The Director General, National Boundary Commission, Adamu Adaji, said the programme is a very important one for the desired efforts of integrating African States, adding that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) endorsed the concept of cross border cooperation as a strategy to facilitate free movement of people, goods and services across the West African borders.