IOM to raise awareness of ECOWAS biometric ID card for regional travel

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a cross-border public education program to raise awareness of the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC) among people along Africa’s west coast, JurnalduCameroun.com reports.

The Journal quotes an official as saying the card enables travellers to prove all of their information to border officials with a simple swipe, as it is embedded with all international passport features. The official also advised transportation professionals to avoid carrying passengers without the necessary documents, and said complaints about harassment and extortion by security officials on the Lagos-Seme route will be investigated.

At an interactive session with transportation industry professionals, Director General Julie Okah-Donle, Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), appealed to transporters to support government efforts to fight trafficking. The transportation professionals expressed support for the biometric card and the program to increase awareness, but also expressed frustration with security officials running checkpoints, who they say often collect bribes.

Nigeria recently signed an MoU to implement the ENBIC card, with government bodies recognizing the need to reduce extortion and harassment at borders, as well as to facilitate trade and increase border security. Five other countries in the region have also moved recently to produce the biometric cards.

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