The Speaker of Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS) Parliament, Honourable Moustapha Cissé Lo, has decried the increase in reports of violence in the ECOWAS Community. This he believes will disrupt democracy and good governance. He made this statement during the opening of the 2019, First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria.
He recognizes the task ECOWAS is confronted with in managing the pockets of violence in different parts of the region and ensuring a safe and secure region. On the issue of Benin Parliamentary elections, he condemns the boycott by some key political players. “It is regrettable that a segment of the political class did not take part in the legislative elections that would birth the new assembly. Whatever their reason, was, this status does not augur well for democracy and social cohesion, which are necessary for the development of our countries.”
He reiterates the aim of the founding fathers of ECOWAS being “the promotion of development and cooperation; elimination of trade barrier; removal of obstacles to free movement of persons, goods and services; harmonize regional, sectoral policies and to substantially improve the welfare of our people.” While he acknowledges the achievements of the regional body over the years, he believes there is more work to be done. .He is emphatic that “the current parliament will fight against all impediments faced by our people along the corridor and our borders by ensuring that all protocols are upheld.”
During plenary, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, one of Ghana’s representatives at the ECOWAS Parliament, proposed the creation of an ECOWAS Defence Force.
“If we have a common market where insecurity makes it difficult for our citizens to access our various markets, then the very objective of ECOWAS will be defeated.”
“In that regard, I suggest that this parliament considers a motion to propose to the Heads of State to consider the establishment of an ECOWAS Common Defence Force.”
In his words, Mr Kofi Humado, Ghana, recommended a designated regional security body, which will be saddled with the responsibility of promoting security in the sub-region. “I believe we need a holistic arrangement through having an ECOWAS institution that can promote security for the region.
Mr. Ibrahim Sadiq, and Mr. Edwin Snowe, members representing Nigeria and Liberia respectively both highlighted the dangers of the persistent violence in Mali. Mr. Ibrahim Sadiq says, “We have to look at Mali very critically because what affects the country affects Niger, Nigeria and our sister countries in Cameroon and Chad.”
“There is a need for us in this parliament to make our heads of state sit down and do a very critical analysis of these issues and how we can tackle the situation as a group.”
On his part, Mr. Edwin Snowe, insists that ECOWAS has to do more by being more proactive.
Meanwhile, Honourable Moustapha Cissé Lo extended his appreciation to the President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo for hosting the 2nd delocalized meeting of the Parliament in Accra, Ghana in the month of April.
He describes the meeting as a success and says it is an opportunity to celebrate the people of Ghana while referencing the successful meetings held with the government of Ghana.
Source: Iposu Elijah Oluwakayode