ECOWAS travel certificate is simply a permit that allows citizens of member states to travel to any of the countries in ECOWAS sub-region without interruption.
Nigeria is a member state of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Sovereign nations under ECOWAS through their representatives come together at intervals to deliberate on issues affecting them as a body.
Some of these key issues include security challenges which are the commonest problem among nations of the world, another issue is that of boundary disputes, health challenges, and others are discussed and solutions adopted.
However, the most common issues that arise between nations are the movement of people from one country to another; since one of the functions of government is the protection of lives and property, the government is obliged to see to the welfare of its citizens at home and Diaspora.
This is one of the reasons for creating ministries of external affairs, embassies, and consulates to take care of her citizens in various countries.
Embassies and consulates work out criteria for issuance of travel certificate which can permit one into their country.
This requirement is unified for all Nationals of Countries that are signatories to the ECOWAS Treaty and is valid for two (2) years after which it can be renewed for a further period of two (2) years.
This ECOWAS Travel Certificate serves a dual purpose, namely;
Just like countries in other continents of the world, Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) established a procedure that if followed will enhance movement of people interchangeably.
ECOWAS passport is a recognised travel document valid for journeys within the Sixteen (16) Countries of ECOWAS. Nigerians who want to travel should obtain an ECOWAS passport at any immigration office in all the states in the country and Abuja.
(b) Form of Identity:
This form is specifically to prove the identity of the holder as community citizen. It can be held concurrently with the National Passport. It can also be used as official means of identity anywhere in any ECOWAS sub-region.
Below are the requirements for ECOWAS certificate.
· Duly completed application form
· Three(3) recent coloured (4x4 cm) passport photographs
· Applicant shall present evidence of age (birth certificate or statutory declaration of age)
· Letter of Introduction from employer (for salaried workers only)
· Letter of confirmation of Nigerian Citizenship from applicant's Local Government Chairman.
· Students and Trainee applicants shall obtain letters of introduction from the heads of their institutions accepting Immigration Responsibility (IR)
· Any other document which might be required by any locality as evidence of Nigerian Citizenship.
Movement of people from any part of the ECOWAS country to another demands that they should undergo the rigorous process involved in order to procure ECOWAS travel certificate which is the document that legally permits one to gain access to any ECOWAS member country.
Any other form of permission apart from the ones specified in this article is illegal and can amount to jail term or option of fine if caught.