Some stakeholders at a colloquium marking the Africa Day on Wednesday, urged countries in the continent to adopt and embrace the use of African Union (AU) Passport.
They spoke in a group discussion to celebrate the Day with a theme, “One People, One Continent: Making the All-Africa Passport Work,” in Lagos.
Mr Segun Adegoke, Deputy Controller of Immigration (DSI) said that the AU passport is a biometric electronic passport that contains contactless smart-card technology
Adegoke said that the passport represent a key plank of the agenda 2063 action Plan, which emphasises the need for greater continental integration, drawing on the popular vision of Pan-African unity.
He added that freedom of movement has been a longstanding priority among member states as enshrined in previous agreements such as the 1991 Abuja Treaty.
According to him, it is expected that the introduction of the passport will help create jobs and stimulate economic activity that would increase intra-African trade, and boost economic growth.
Adegoke faulted the notion by some critics that the new passport will lead to porous borders, smuggling, illegal immigration and terrorism, increase stiff competition for jobs and lead to the spread of diseases like Ebola.
He said that this has compounded the concept of border and border security adding that NIS has set up different mechanism to curtail the trans-boar der crime.
“It is my considered opinion that the practical benefits from the new AU passport far outweighed the challenges as irregular immigration dwindles.
“This will reduce the encumbrance of border, while guaranteeing African integration through an integrated border management system.
“In fact, it should be accompanied with the Protocol on Right of Residence and establishment modeled after the ECOWAS was Protocol on free movement of persons, Right of Residence and establishment in due course,’’ Adegoke said.
Mrs Jaquelyn Omatalade, Manager Public Policy, Uber West Africa urged Nigeria and other countries to explore technology to develop the continent economy.
Omatalade, an attorney said that the AU passport would encourage integration between member states.
“The AU passport will promote cultural integration, growth and stop human trafficking,’’ Omatalede said.
Dr Abiodun Adesegun, head of Department, History and international studies, Babcock University, Ogun state, condemn in totality the menace of terrorism adding that it has truncated the growth of many economy.