The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it will commit $1.5 million to infrastructure development in cross-border areas in the region.
ECOWAS director of agricultural development, Alain Traore, stated this during the validation workshop on holistic cross-border cooperation documents for trio border regions on Monday in Birnin Kebbi.
The regions are Kebbi State (Nigeria), Dossou Region (Niger Republic), and Alibori Department (Benin Republic).
He said the commission adopted a new step towards building socio-economic infrastructure in cross-border areas to prevent conflict between herders and farmers and also counter terrorism’s negative impacts in the communities.
He said this could be achieved by committing a lot of funding across the ECOWAS member states through investment in infrastructure facilities to benefit women and the people in the cross-border areas.
“In Kebbi state, Alibori and Dossou, we will be committing $350,000 U.S. dollars for each state annually for specific infrastructure facilities in these areas.
“These infrastructures will be equally shared by the women and men so that they can exercise their activities to their welfare.
“This commitment is within the framework of ECOWAS conflict resolution and ECOWAS against terrorism and negative impacts of banditry and terrorism effects in our communities,” he said.
Earlier, Adamu Adaji, director-general, National Boundary Commission of Nigeria, said the multi stakeholders’ intervention focused on the grassroots actors, particularly those operating in the cross-border areas.
He said the support for the programme was imperative owing to the security challenges arising from conflicts between herders and farmers across West Africa and the Sahel region.
Mr Adaji said the choice of Kebbi to host the validation workshop was critical because of its strategic location sharing common borders with Dossou (Niger Republic) and Alibori (Benin Republic).
“The state also serves as a sub-regional route for many trans–human herds from Niger, Benin, Togo and Ghana.
“More important is the appreciative importance Governor Atiku Bagudu had shown for this project through his passion and commitment,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Bagudu, represented by the Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries, Aminu Garba-Dandiga, thanked representatives of Benin, Niger and other relevant stakeholders for participating in the exercise.