ECOWAS Parliament deliberate on insecurity, terrorism

Adoba Echono, Abuja

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The challenge of insecurity and terrorism has again been brought to the front burner of deliberations at the 2019 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament  in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Speaker of the regional parliament, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo, in a remark at the 2019 Second Ordinary Session of the fourth legislature of the parliament said it was unfortunate that West Africa is still grappling with the challenge of insecurity.

Mr. Cisse Lo noted that the menace was hampering the development of the community.

“Before addressing the content of this session, allow me to take some time to talk about the context in which this session is taking place, by starting immediately with the worrying security situation in our region, notably the persistence of terrorist attacks.”

“The recurrent terrorist attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, where they have become more deadly, remind us the critical need to respond appropriately to this threat.”

“Terrorism and insecurity have assumed unprecedented proportions in our region.”

According to Mr. Cisse Lo, “They constitute a major challenge that needs to be absolutely addressed, inasmuch as we all agree that without peace and security, sustainable development is unachievable.”

“It is necessary for us to act now and vigorously to eradicate this spiral of violence, in this regard, the involvement of our States and the pooling of our forces and resources seem to me very important, failing which the fight against terrorism will remain ineffective.

The Speaker expressed the parliament’s solidarity with countries that have fallen victims to these barbaric attacks, which plunge families into mourning every day and cause massive displacement of populations.

“Furthermore, we all paid particular attention to the events in Guinea-Bissau, which disrupted the political situation in the country in the run-up to the presidential election,” he pointed out.

The Speaker commended the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for its emergency extraordinary session in Niamey Niger Republic where it adopted urgent and stringent measures which have paved way for the conduct of the Presidential election in Guinea Bissau which is scheduled to hold on November 24, this year.

He disclosed plans by Parliament to send a delegation to Guinea Bissau along with a delegation from the Commission to observe the election.

 “I want to stress that we place a great deal of hope in this presidential election, which is expected to enable Guinea Bissau to find a lasting solution to the political crisis it has been facing for many years.”

“This election is to usher the people of Guinea-Bissau into a new era of peace and prosperity and contribute a great deal ‘to political stability at regional level, “he added.

 In a message at the occasion, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou commended the Nigerian government for their constant support and all the facilities made available to ECOWAS for the success of this session.

He said that the Commission would be presenting the 2020 Budget proposal of the Community, calling for more synergy between the Parliament and the Commission.

“Going forward, for parliament to play an enhanced role as a catalyst and lever for economic and social development, we must work in coordination and synergy, reinvigorate and restore our framework of exchanges of the Standing Committees of Parliament and departments of the ECOWAS Commission.”

Mr. Brou gave the assurance that the Community Parliament and the ECOWAS institutions as a whole will contribute more to meeting the challenges inherent in the regional integration process, in order to achieve the ECOWAS of Peoples in the light of Vision 2020.

For his part, the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward Amoako, called for increased partnership between Parliament and the Court.

Justice Amoako used the opportunity to bare his mind on the major challenges of the ECOWAS Court of Justice which bordered mainly on the non-enforcement of the court’s judgments by member states.

He explained that under the Protocol of the court as amended, member states have the responsibility of enforcing the judgments of the court in accordance with their Rules of Civil Procedure.

According to Justice Amoako, “each member state is required to appoint a competent national authority that will be responsible for the enforcement of the judgments of the court.”

He disclosed that only six member states have complied with this obligation: Guinea, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo and Ghana and appealed to the remaining member states to do same without further delay.

Justice Amoako said the unsatisfactory rate of enforcement of the judgments of the regional court, could erode public confidence in the court.

The Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament is the Community budget consideration session of the regional Parliament.

Omolayo.A