BY DAMILOLA LAWRENCE
The federal government says that it is committed to playing a crucial role in the nourishment of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization (ALCO) in facilitating the free movement of goods and people among member countries.
The ALCO is an initiative of five coastal African countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic and Nigeria established in 2002 with the objectives of prevention, treatment, care and support on HIV/AIDS, as well as facilitation of trade and transport relations in line with the protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Ebenezer Adeniyan, said this while receiving ALCO’s Secretary-General, Idrissa Kone, in Abuja,
Adegoroye acknowledged the vision of the founding fathers of the organization, saying that its advantages could not be over-emphasized.
He praised the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in promoting regional integration in Africa, and said that Nigeria must do everything possible to sustain and improve on the initiative.
The Minister restated the Federal Government’s desire to fulfill its outstanding commitments to the organization, while urging ALCO to explore other sources of funding for its activities.
The ALCO Secretary-General, said the organization had recorded a lot of achievements along the corridor in the last 20 years of its existence.
Kone said the achievements were mostly in the promotion of regional integration among the five member states.
He urged the Nigerian government to work towards reducing the number of checkpoints and harassment of people by security agencies along the Nigerian border roads.
According to the secretary-general, the numerous checkpoints has constituted a major challenge to the free movement of people and goods in the country.
Meanwhile, the minister for transportation also promised to facilitate the support of government to female professional and commercial drivers in the country.
Adegoroye made the promise when he received the leadership of Female Drivers Association of Nigeria (FEDAN) in his office in Abuja.
According to him, female commercial drivers are special and must be encouraged to flourish in their chosen profession.
Adegoroye said the Federal Ministry of Transportation will look into the request of the association to have female professional drivers employed into the ministry.
He then stressed the need for government to give the needed recognition to female drivers.
Earlier on, the President of the association, Mrs Eunice Odeghe, said FEDAN was formed to bring all women professional drivers and automobile workers together under one umbrella to promote their interests and deal with their challenges.
The association later decorated the Minister as a its Patron.