The EU, through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has handed over personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja, in the framework of its “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa” (FMM West Africa), jointly funded by the ECOWAS Commission. 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.
On 18 November 2020, the handover of PPEs took place in Niamey Niger, with 320 PPE kits presented. Each kit included 1 N95 respirator, 5 3-ply disposable surgical mask, 1 reusable face shield frame, 5 face protective shields, 5 disposable shoe covers, 5 disposable protective gowns, 10 pairs of disposable gloves, 5 disposable hair covers, 1 50ml bottle of hand sanitizer, 5 alcohol swabs and 5 waste disposable bags.
On 20 November, the provision of PPEs took place in Lomé, Togo. A total of 462 boxes of 3-ply disposable surgical masks, boxes of mini PPE kits (boxes of surgical masks and gloves), boxes of disposable gloves, boxes of reusable face protective shields and bottles of disinfectant were presented.
On 27 November 2020, the provision of PPEs took place in Cotonou, Benin. A total of 50 non-contact thermometers, 400 boxes of surgical 3-ply surgical masks, 200 boxes of disposable gloves, 1,000 reusable face protective shield and 500 500ml bottles of hand sanitizers were presented.
On December 1, 2020, the provision of PPEs took place in Accra, Ghana. In total, 745 boxes of 3-ply surgical masks, boxes of disposable gloves, 150 non-contact thermometers, 350 bottles of hand sanitizer, 300 bottles of disinfectant, 300 bottles of hand liquid soap, 350 boxes of hand tissues and 80 Kentucky buckets and mops were presented.
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.