ECOWAS Commission urges remaining 9 member states to issue biometric regional ID card


The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Omar Touray, has revealed that just 6 out of the 15 member states currently support the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC), according to News Diary Online.

The biometric ID with an embedded electronic chip began rolling out in Nigeria and Senegal in 2016.

“Similar to biometric passports, the ENBIC has a secure chip that contains crucial biometric and biographical data about the cardholder, including name, surname, gender, date and place of birth, address, height, eye color, fingerprints, and facial photographs”.

Senegal has become the first country in the Economic Community of West African States to implement the Community Directives regarding this new biometric identity card in 2016.

“Back to Touray’s claims, he made them on Wednesday, during the First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria, discussing the current status of implementation of the Community Work Programmes”.

The President says only Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Benin, The Gambia and Sierra Leone have introduced the biometric ID, but that other member states are on their way to launching their implementations.


Further, Touray highlighted the community’s efforts to promote and facilitate the free movement of people. He mentioned that ECOWAS is implementing innovative measures for this purpose, including introducing an ECOWAS Visa, known as ECOVISA, similar to the Schengen Visa system. The aim is to enhance regional mobility within the sub-region.

“However, the President also acknowledged the challenges in enforcing decisions made by the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice. He revealed that there are currently 106 judgments that still need to be executed by member states and an additional 11 by ECOWAS institutions.”

“Touray urged parliamentarians to address these challenges, emphasizing the critical role of the court in promoting human rights, regional stability, peace, and security. He stressed that enforcing court decisions is crucial for the court’s effectiveness”.

“Touray’s claims come weeks after ECOWAS announced plans to fast-track its regional ID card project with funding from WURI to boost financial inclusion and integration.”



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