December 21, 2015 -
The Chairman of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, recently presented samples of the new ECOWAS Biometric ID Cards at the 48th Ordinary Session of Authority of Heads of States and Governments of the commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
According to a report in Leadership while announcing that the distribution of the ID card will commence on the 1st of January, 2016, Ouedraogo stated that “it is the responsibility of each member state to issue the ECOWAS Biometric ID Cards to it(s) citizens”.
He added that the biometric identity card replaces residential permit and removed the need for the use of visas to encourage free movement of people in the region. Ouedraogo said that “these cards will also serve as travel documents and they will replace the resident permit and citizens can live and reside in any ECOWAS country without giving any other document”.
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo attended the summit in person while presidents of Niger, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde and Liberia were represented. Other participants included representatives of United Nations, the European Union, and members of the diplomatic corps among other partner organisations.
Previously reported, in December of 2014 ECOWAS first announced that the biometric identity card program will launch in 2016 after leaders within the sub-region at the Economic Community of West African States proposed to replace residence permits with biometric identification cards.