ECOWAS links humanitarian crises to bad governance

ECOWAS Headquarters in Abuja

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS says most of the humanitarian crises and rising poverty level in the region are products of bad and unimaginative governance by heads of the various government.

Secretary General of ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. John Azumah said no fewer than 2.1 million people have been displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria alone.

He was speaking at the official inauguration of the West African Parliamentary Press Corps, WAPPC and Senate Press Corps Day, in Abuja.

Mr. Azumah said: It is regrettable that despite the efforts being made in West Africa, the region is plagued with multiple crises.

“For instance, Nigeria’s North-east , North-west and North-central are ravaged by Boko Haram terrorism and farmer-herder clashes, which has resulted in the killing of over 20,000 people and with about 2.1 million people displaced…This carnage has caused huge humanitarian crisis, such that there appear to be lack of concern in addressing the crises with funds by the international agencies.

“In Mali, insurgency has run down the country and displaced many. These crises are replicated in many parts of the region.

“According to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR),  West Africa is one of the regions of the world with the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons, estimated to constitute about 40% of the 70 million refugees and displaced persons in the world,” he explained.

Bad governance
The ECOWAS Parliament scribe blamed the lingering situation on bad governance which he said had rendered many affected countries financially impotent to the point of depending on funds from  donor agencies to implement their yearly budgets.

Mr Azumah stated that; “the political crises that trigger these humanitarian situations in the region are products of bad and unimaginative governance, which has plunged a great number of our citizens into poverty and untold hardship.”

Way forward
As a way out of the bad situations, he tasked the media and civil society organisation across the 15 countries in the region to hold their various governments accountable.

According to him, the vibrancy of the media is evaluated based on the degree of consciousness of the citizens in challenging leaders to live up to their duties and obligations.

Mr. Azumah was represented by the Director of Parliamentary Affairs and Research of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Bertin Some.

The President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan assured the gathering that the 9th National Assembly has put on ground, feasible template for populist synergy with the executive arm of government to address the problems of insecurity, unemployment and high poverty level among the populace.

“These we believed, can be effectively tackled with required synergy with the executive arm of government and effective oversight duties by the Parliament.

“The press as the fourth estimate of the  realm and societal watchdog, is expected to focus more strongly on the imperative of legislative independence,” he said.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan was represented by his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

The theme of this year’s Senate Press Corps Day is; ‘Parliamentary Independence in ECOWAS; The role of the Media.’


Mercy Chukwudiebere