International Journal of Development and Economic Sustainability (IJDES)

EA Journals

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Free Movement and National Security: A Case Study of Nigeria


Ensuring the safety and security of countries is a priority for governments worldwide. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria has supported the integration and movement of goods, people, and services through the adoption of the Protocol on Free Movement (PFM). However, the unrestricted movement of people across porous borders can pose security threats, particularly with the trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW). This paper examines the potential security threats that could arise from the protocol on free movement of people and goods and highlights the importance of collaboration with other countries to achieve safe and secure borders. The study utilized a desk research method that relied heavily on secondary data to analyze relevant materials. The findings indicate that while the protocol enhances economic integration and financial stability, organized transnational criminal networks have taken advantage of free movement to perpetuate various forms of crime such as human trafficking, arms trafficking, and terrorism. The paper argues that regional integration is crucial but must be balanced with the need to maintain National Security in Nigeria. To address the challenges posed by free movement, the paper recommends that the Nigerian government needs to be strategic while endorsing international treaties to reflect the national interest of securing the Country. Strategies should be developed to monitor porous borders to check the illegal flow of arms, and efforts should be made to mop up illegal arms through the speedy establishment of the National Commission for the coordination and control of the proliferation of small Arms and Light Weapon (NATCOM) bill awaiting assent from the president. Additionally, intelligence sharing should be enhanced to promote regional integration while maintaining national security.

Keywords: Economic Integration, Ecowas, National Security, PFM, arms proliferation

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