West Africa: ECOWAS Urges Drivers to Acquire Valid Documents to Facilitate Cross-Border Movements

The Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Preventive, of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Mr Yakubu Siedu has charged motorists travelling across West African borders to obtain necessary licences to facilitate free movement and legitimate trade.

The licences included valid driving license, matriculation certificate, ownership card or log book and brown card.

Speaking at a sensitisation campaign, dubbed 'Advocacy and Sensitisation campaign on promoting free movement of goods, persons and migration within Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region' in Accra on Thursday, Mr Seidu indicated that no driver from the sub region had the right to travel without legal document.

He observed that there were lots of illegal vehicles in the country without documents backing their stay, hence called on them to operate and abide by the ECOWAS free movement laws.

Mr Seidu explained that every commercial vehicle from the sub-region had a maximum of 30 days to spend, while a private vehicle had 90 days stay.

"Due to duty payment some people use ECOWAS treaty free movement protocol to qualify them to enter into the country with vehicles from Togo without paying any fee, this has defeated the statistics provided by DVLA on the number of legal vehicles operating in the country," he stated.

Mr Seidu observed that illegal vehicles were used to smuggle drugs and arms with some using fake registration numbers to engage in robbery and other criminal activities.

In order to ensure safety of the citizenry, Mr Seidu said his outfit had beefed up security to tackle the issue and tasked drivers and individuals to report any perpetrator they come across.

Mr Winfred Didzih, Secretary General of ECOWAS Brown card Scheme, on his part urged drivers to obtain brown card to secure them during emergency situations.

He explained that the card was an insurance cover against third party liability for accidental death, bodily injury and property damage arising out of the use of motor vehicles crossing borders in the sub region.

The objective of the card, Mr Didzih noted was to serve as a guarantee to the victims of road accident, to compensate for damages caused by non-resident motorists from the member state visiting the territory.

Advising the drivers, Superintendant Vera Azizie, Document Fraud expert of the Operation Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service, said some drivers engaged in child trafficking without knowing.

She stated that drivers sometimes travel to the country with a kidnapped child and stressed the need for them to be vigilant and ask questions when travelling with children and vulnerable people.

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