By Michael Oche, Abuja
African trade union organisations from 25 countries across the continent, as well as their civil society organisations counterparts have met in Abuja, Nigeria Federal Capital Territory, in an attempt to improve and accelerate the implementation of the ECOWAS Free Movement and Migration (FMM) programme.
Addressing journalists at the two days meeting, NLC Focal Person on Migration, Comrade EustaceImoyera James, said the meeting aimed to seek how non-state actors can influence the attainment of a rights-based UN Global Compact on Migration as well as develop practical actions to respond to other migration issues within and outside Africa.
However, participants at the meeting affirmed that migration is delivering gains to migrants, sending, transit and receiving or host economies.
They described it as an historic human, global and ever-continuing phenomenon that cannot be stopped.
Comrade James said while addressing a press conference during the event that the meeting has also reaffirmed that over 80% of African migrants are moving within the continent and far more within the sub-region blocs.
He said: “This fact should help in reframing the rather unfortunate mainstream media narrative that tend to suggest that migration and African migrants’ movement are dysfunctional and hurting development, as well as disrupting other continents.
“The current migration challenges, which have contributed to the increase and intense topical global dominance of migration discourse are largely man-made.
“We know and are confident that these challenges can be effectively addressed in humane and just ways that will better facilitate and accelerate the cause of humanity. Thus, genuine and germane efforts and relevant stakeholders should be consciously mobilized to effectively address the current gaps.”
Participants, however, commended and noted that the ECOWAS has robust protocols backed with pragmatic programmes and practice, as well as reforms that have helped and still helping to advance people’s movement and mobility within her blocs.
They advised other African sub-region blocs to adopt the replicate where appropriate and applicable, these migration and mobility facilitating mechanism.