The Federal Government has pledged to continue to play a crucial role in the sustenance of activities of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organisation (ALCO) in facilitating the free movement of goods and people among member countries and promised support for women commercial drivers.
The ALCO, an initiative of five coastal African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic and Nigeria) was established in 2002 to prevent, treat, care for and support the war against HIV/AIDS, as well as facilitate trade and transport relations in line with the protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
While receiving the secretary-general of ALCO, Mr. Idrissa Kone, in his office in Abuja, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, saluted the vision of the founders of the organisation, stressing that its advantages cannot be over-emphasised.
Adegoroye, who lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in promoting regional integration in Africa, said Nigeria must do everything possible to sustain and improve on the initiative.
The minister then promised that the Federal Government will fulfil its outstanding commitments to the organisation and urged the ALCO to also explore other sources of funding for its activities, especially regular collection of data.
Speaking earlier, Kone said the organisation has recorded a lot of achievements along the corridor in the last 20 years, especially in the promotion of regional integration among the five member states.
Accompanied by the programme coordinator, Dr. Abdel-Aziz Fagbemi, Kone urged the Nigerian government to work towards reducing the number of checkpoints and harassment of people by security agencies along the Nigerian border roads, as this has constituted a major challenge to the free movement of people and goods.
Meanwhile, Adegoroye promised to facilitate the government’s support for women professional and commercial drivers in the country.
The minister, who made the promise when he received the leadership of the Female Drivers Association of Nigeria (FEDAN) in his office in Abuja, said female commercial drivers are special and must be encouraged to flourish in their chosen profession.
Adegoroye said the ministry will look into the request of the association to have female professional drivers employed in the ministry, stressing the need for government to give the needed recognition to female drivers.
Speaking earlier, the president of the association, Mrs. Eunice Odeghe said FEDAN was formed to bring all women professional drivers under one umbrella to promote their interests and deal with their challenges.
The association later decorated the minister as its patron.