From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has bemoaned the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the West African region.
This was even as Tunis called on the people of the West African region to observe the COVID-19 protocol laid down by respective countries.
Tunis made the appeal during the 2020 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament known as the ‘Budget Session’ which held virtually from January 13 to 19.
Tunis noted the negative impact of the pandemic on parliamentary activities, saying that much as the parliamentarians had hoped to meet in person, “our singular most important and powerful enemy, COVID-19, has again denied us the pleasantries that goes meeting together.”
Tunis however said with the support of his colleagues, and those of the committed and hardworking staff of the parliament, great successes were recorded during the last quarter of 2020 which were very essential to the execution of Parliament’s programs for the year.
According to Tunis, “The pandemic still lingers and is having devastating social and economic consequences on our citizens. States across our region and the world are recording more cases and unfortunately, new strains of the virus are being discovered, making it difficult to bring the pandemic under control. Regulations and restrictions previously imposed and relaxed are being reinforced. If the current trend continues, we are likely to see the imposition of more stringent measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus.
“While we celebrate the development of vaccines, I still wish to call on our citizens to avoid complacency and continue to observe all the existing health protocols. These protocols, which include the constant washing of hands under running water, wearing of face mask, maintaining social distance and respiratory hygiene, have proven very effective in curbing the spread of the disease and we must continue to practice them at all times.”
Tunis further said irrespective of the crisis, he was convinced that the region will emerge stronger and more united.
He added that the challenges of COVID- 19 must become an opportunity for change, a change that leaves no one behind and a change that makes the region a model of solidarity and sustainability.
“I wish to recall that though the pandemic greatly imparted our operations last year and still continues to have its toll on our programs, parliament, however, acted with determination and swiftly implemented the necessary steps to continue its work under the current circumstances. Parliament can be proud to note that it exercised its prerogatives and continues to maintain democratic accountability throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” Tunis added.