Press Release —Global December 07, 2020

EU, ECOWAS, IOM Provide Protective Equipment at Nigeria’s Busiest Points of Entry

Press release

Abuja - On 4 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), handed over personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in the Nigerian capital.

The provision of PPEs was made possible under the European Union and ECOWAS Commission regional project, “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa” (FMM West Africa). The provision of PPEs also supports the ECOWAS Commission efforts to further facilitate free movement and migration throughout the ECOWAS sub-region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 57,350 face masks, 114,700 pairs of gloves and 1,147 face shields were presented at the NIS headquarters in Abuja by representatives from the European Union, ECOWAS Commission and IOM. The PPEs will benefit immigration and border officials working at the country’s busiest points of entry (PoEs).

“I sincerely thank IOM, EU and ECOWAS for this intervention,” said Mohammed Babandede, NIS Comptroller General of Immigration. “These PPEs will greatly help us in discharging our duties effectively, so I will deploy them to the borders in order to ensure that our officers are well protected. I agree that the defender should not be defenseless” he continued.

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on mobility, border and migration management globally and Nigeria reports the highest number of confirmed cases in West Africa. Like many countries around the world, Nigeria continues to develop and implement various measures to help reduce the spread of the pandemic while protecting its borders, citizens and the thousands of travelers and migrants who transverse ECOWAS borders daily.

During the pandemic, the protection of all frontline personnel is essential as they are the first point of contact for travelers. As ECOWAS Member States begin to open their borders and remove travel restrictions, law enforcement officers play a central role in ensuring regional integration and development.

 “Law enforcement officers operating at these borders are usually the first point of contact for migrants and travelers and are exposed to a higher risk of infection,” said Prestage Murima on behalf of Frantz Celestin, IOM Chief of Mission. “Providing the right resources and equipment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is therefore imperative in order to increase the capacity of law enforcement and help them provide essential services more effectively.”

To further support the services provided by law enforcement, IOM, under the FMM West Africa project, also provided PPEs for immigration and border officials in Niger, Togo, Benin and Ghana. Additional materials presented included, among others, non-contact thermometers, hand sanitizers and disposable protective gowns and shoe covers.

The FMM West Africa project aims at maximizing the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa. To this end, it supports migration data management, border management, labour migration and combating trafficking in persons in West Africa.

For more information, please contact: The FMM West Africa Project at IOM Nigeria, Email: info@fmmwestafrica.org, Tel: +23 906 242 1085