ECA Scribe, Sirleaf, Others Lament Africa’s Visas Policies

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Mr Abdalla Hamdok
  • As EFCC traces multi-billion Abuja asset to ex-First Lady

 

Mr Abdalla Hamdok, Acting Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is grieving that the African continent is missing on many migration benefits, as a result of tight border policies.

Hamdock indicated this in a statement ECA placed on its website on Wednesday in Abuja, sequel to the inauguration of the High Level Panel on Migration (HLPM) in Africa, which held in Monrovia, Liberia.

Hamdock who was particularly concerned that travels in Africa by Africans are curtailed by stringent visa requirements, made the observation, against the backdrop that African need visas to travel to about 55 per cent of other African countries.

“Excessive border controls and immigration restrictions increase the costs and risks of migration and often conflict individual motivation to migrate and state restrictions on mobility”, the ECA Scribe stated, pointing out that although international media outlets tend to present images of large numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe as being mostly from Africa, intra-Africa migration still dominates migration flows on the continent.

“Data shows that less than three per cent of Africa’s populations have migrated internationally and less than 12 per cent of the total migrant stock in Europe is from Africa.”

Echoing the same view, the Liberian President, Sirleaf Johnson who is the Panel Chairman, in the statement also  lamented that “many Africans have died trying to cross over to Europe.

“Just last week, some 40 young men and women died of thirst in the Sahara Desert while trying to reach Europe.

“More than a thousand have perished in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of this year.

“In many places in Europe today, a mixture of migrants from diverse backgrounds have been living in the streets under conditions that can best be described as inhumane,” she observed further.

In her own view, Ms Alma Negash, the founder, Africa Diaspora Network and member of the HPLM posited that the issue of excessive border controls is indeed, deplorable.

She however lauded Uganda’s acceptance of migrants as a good example of what African countries should be doing.

“I salute the exemplary conduct of Uganda on migration. In the past few years, Uganda alone took 800,000 South Sudanese migrations and refugees, so Africa needs to accept and take care of its children.”

According to the statement, Mr Knut Vollebaek, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Norway, and member of the panel says he is very pleased with the initiative and expressed hope about its ability to achieve set goals.

He expressed the hope that the panelists would mobilise political will among governments in Africa as well as support adoption of the necessary policies to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people.

“I hope our work can champion the new development paradigm enshrined in Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 for Africa.”

Established in April 2016 by the ECA under the direction of the joint African Union (AU) and ECA Conference of Ministers in Addis Ababa, the HLPM is made up of 14 members.

The panel aims to push migration issues to the top of policy agenda by engaging major stakeholders and partners.

It consults with relevant constituencies at national, regional and global levels to come up with recommendations on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an implementable international migration development agenda.

It also takes into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations and submits a report to the African Union Heads of State summit in July 2018.

In the meantime, another multi-billion naira property has been traced to a former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to mark the property as “being under investigation” and may place it under Interim Asset Forfeiture, The Nation learnt yesterday.

The relationship between Mrs. Jonathan and two companies was being probed by detectives as at press time.

Also, three accounts and three more properties have been put under surveillance by the anti-graft commission in connection with the ongoing investigation of the ex-First Lady.

The three accounts belong to Aribawa Aruera Research Foundation; Finchley Top Homes Limited and AM-PM Network Limited.

The accounts were uncovered in the course of investigating the ex-First Lady and Aribawa Aruera Research Foundation, The Nation learnt from sources close to the investigation..

EFCC investigators have however only established a link between Mrs. Jonathan and Aribawa Aruera Research Foundation.

The anti-graft commission is suspecting a business relationship between Mrs. Jonathan and Finchley Top Homes Limited and AM-PM Network Limited.

Preliminary investigation revealed that huge slush funds might have been laundered through the foundation and the two firms.

Additional report from Nation