ECOWAS Parliament Commences Second Ordinary Session22 Nov, 2017
Abuja 21st November 2017. The Parliament of ECOWAS commenced its second Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria on the 21st of November 2017.
During the Session which will last till the 9th of December 2017, the regional parliamentarians will consider the budget of the ECOWAS institutions and agencies among others.
Welcoming parliamentarians, delegates and invited guests to the event, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo, conveyed the hope of the Assembly that the adoption of the of the Supplementary Act on the enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament in December 2016, by the Heads of State and Government of the Community will continue to strengthen the Parliament towards achieving the dream of an ECOWAS of the people.
The Speaker drew the attention of the august body to the burning issues of the moment, the ameliorating actions already taken as well as the planned interventions by the regional parliamentarians. These included the humanitarian situation of victims of Bokp Haram insurgency in Nigeria, a visit to border corridors to assess the violation of the Free Movement Protocol, the Liberian election situation and the political situation in Togo and the reported issue of modern day slavery in Libya.
Speaker Lo also paid tribute to regional and parliamentary leaders for their outstanding contributions to the stability of the region and the evolution of regional parliamentarianism. Specific mention was made in this regard of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Patrice Tallon, Faure GnassingbeIssoufou Mahamadou, Roch March Christian Kabore, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as well as Professor Ali Nouhhoum Diallo, Mahamane Ousmane and Ike Ekweremadu.
The Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament also held a solemn session to welcome the President of Senegal and former Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority Mr. Macky Sall who was commended by the President of the ECOWAS Commission Marcel de Souza for his role in maintaining peace and stability in the region and most recently ensuring the reinstatement of democracy and the rule of law to The Gambia following the country’s political impasse.
Represented by the Vice President of the Commission, Mr. Edward Singhatey, President de Souza gave an overview of the relevant programmes of the Commission that borders on ongoing reforms, including the cost control plans aimed creating greater synergy between institutions and efficiency through rationalization.
Maintaining that the expectations of the Ordinary Session are high, he urged the Parliamentarians to carry out their tasks “with all the vigour and conscientiousness” that the exercise deserves.
President Sall who was presented gifts by Speaker Lo, urged the Parliamentarians to “hold on to, and carry on the flag of integration” 42 years after the formation of ECOWAS while commending the regional group for the strides it has made in the areas of conflict prevention as well as the commencement of integration programmes such as the Common External Tariff, community infrastructure and the biometric card system.
He expressed concerns about the criminal network that has led to the enslavement of many West Africans in Libya from where 2,480 Senegalese citizens had already been repatriated.
Among the goodwill messages that resounded at the Parliamentary chamber was that of the President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly of Nigeria Dr. Bukola Saraki which was delivered by the former speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Mr. Ike Ekweremadu and in which the Commitment of Nigeria to the implementation of the various protocols aimed at achieving greater regional integration was restated.
The Parliamentarians will deliberate, consider and adopt work programmes, reports as well as sit over conferences jointly organized with Partners. It will also receive country reports and meet with local authorities among others.
The ECOWAS Parliament will hold its first extraordinary session in February 2018 in Dakar, Senegal.