From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, has intensified efforts aimed at halting political instability, conflict, terrorism, banditry and criminality in the West African sub-region.
The move is the focus of a delocalised meeting on the theme: ‘Community texts relating to peace, security, democracy and good governance: challenges in their implementation and the oversight role of ECOWAS Parliament’ in Banjul, Gambia.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis, said members of the Parliament are in Banjul to deliberate on the Challenges in the Implementation and the Oversight role of the ECOWAS Parliament on Community Texts relating to Peace, Security, Democracy and Good Governance.
Tunis who was represented by the 4th Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Adja Satu Camara Pinto, added that there are a significant number of adopted Community texts targeted at preventing, managing and/or settling conflicts in the community space.
He stated that the texts have been designed to maintain and promote peace and regional security.
“This is one of the most advanced political integration achievements by any regional organisation in the world. Yet, our region is still suffering from an onslaught of political instability, conflict, terrorism, banditry, and criminality. It is within Parliament’s competences to exercise oversight functions to ensure that Community Texts are implemented effectively and work towards the harmonisation of sectoral policies and legislations of Member States, as stated in article 4 (l) of the Supplementary Act,” Tunis said.
The ECOWAS Parliament Speaker further said the pertinent issues relating to instability and governance in the region are evident in the daily lives of the people, saying that the loss of lives and destruction, is ever-present in the region’s news headlines, almost on a daily basis.
“The question is, should we as Members of Parliament remain indifferent to the plight of our people? Should we fold our arms and watch the safely and security of our people consistently compromised by the lawless few? We are aware, we are fighting back, but now we must fight back harder in the most effective manner. The people handed us the power and indeed, we must utilize that power in ways that can ensure successes.
“Many democracies are having difficulties globally, in this present day, these failures are often attributed to the lack of trust and accountability. We are seeing regime change and reforms in many parts of the world. In Africa the fragility of our democracies is caused by electoral abuse, ethnic divisions, mismanagement of natural resources, poverty, and economic insecurity. There is a need for political will and action to counter these problems, and these are better achieved through our institutions. It is said that integration is about people. Indeed, it is high time our region derives the benefits of our many years of integration, and it is our duty as Parliamentarians to contribute to the efficient and effective implementation of objectives and policies of the Community,” Tunis also said.
On his part, Gambian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Mamadou Tangara, urged member states to collectively act swiftly to address the issues of insecurity in the sub-region.
He added that as nations sharing the same destiny, there is a moral obligation and a collective responsibility to act swiftly to address all issues hampering the institutional advancement, the consolidation of peace, security and the empowerment of women who are the driving forces of the region.