ECOWAS Parliament: New Speaker calls for greater collaboration to improve integration
ECOWAS Parliament: New Speaker calls for greater collaboration to improve integration

ECOWAS Parliament: New Speaker calls for greater collaboration to improve integration

The first ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament for the year 2024 officially opened on Monday, July 1, 2024, at Abuja, Nigeria.


In her opening speech, Mrs Hadja Memounatou Ibrahima, the new Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, called for more collaboration for better integration between ECOWAS institutions and its Member States. 

This was in the presence of Dr Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Presidents or Representatives of the other ECOWAS institutions, the Representatives of the Presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly of Nigeria and several other dignitaries.

For the new Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, the implementation of the recommendations contained in the "Kano Declaration", adopted by the Community's Members of Parliament in May 2024, is of the utmost importance.

This declaration emphasises the need to initiate discussions, resolutions and legislation to meet the many political, economic and security challenges facing the region, particularly in terms of insecurity and terrorism, food insecurity, irregular immigration and the harmful effects of cli-mate change.

Mrs Ibrahima reiterated Parliament's commitment to work urgently with other ECOWAS institutions to implement and strengthen the report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the Com-munity's work programme and the consideration of the draft decision on the establishment of a Special Court for The Gambia to prosecute serious human rights violations and crimes committed between 22 July 1994 and 21 January 2017 in that country.

In his goodwill message, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, congratulated the 6th ECOWAS Parliament for making history by electing a woman to head this ECOWAS institution for the first time. 

"On behalf of my colleagues and the staff of the Commission, as well as the heads of the other ECOWAS institutions, I extend my most sincere congratulations to you, Madam President, to the members of your Bureau and to all the members of the 6th Parliament," he added.

President Touray emphasised the urgent need for collaborative efforts to strengthen regional integration in light of current challenges facing the sub-region, particularly insecurity, terrorism, and poverty. He expressed a pressing concern of the threat of disintegration facing ECOWAS following the announcement of withdrawal from the regional body by Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. 

He highlighted the potentially far-reaching consequences for citizens of these member states, such as loss of benefits in terms of free movement of people and goods within the sub-region, the use of ECOWAS passports or biometric identity cards, which all are used to facilitate traveling and residency across member states. President Touray also noted the anticipated economic, commercial, and institutional impacts of such withdrawals.

He underscored ECOWAS's efforts to support the four countries in transition and urged for concerted action to navigate the crisis. "It is imperative that we take all necessary measures to prevent the disintegration of our region," Dr. Omar Alieu Touray concluded.

Judge Edward Amoako Asante, President of the Community Court of Justice, and the Joao Alage Mamadu Fadia, Auditor General of the ECOWAS Institutions also delivered their messages of support.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Yawovi Missiame Amenyo Adjourouvi, Togolese Minister for Human Rights, in charge of relations with institutions, stressed the importance of strengthening democracy and good governance in the sub-region as essential components of development growth, as well as the need to strengthen human rights protection mechanisms within the community, to guarantee access to justice for all, to promote gender equality and to protect vulnerable groups.

As for the Mr Benjamin Kalu, representative of Alhaji Tajudeen ABBAS, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he called for collaboration that would make the ECOWAS region a solid model for regional and global peace, transformation, democracy and good governance, ultimately fostering development growth.

The last speaker was the Mr Jibrin Barau, Deputy Senate President of Nigeria and Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, representing the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He also called for regional integration to be strengthened.

"The challenges we face are not in-surmountable. With cooperation and unity, we can make our region a power characterised by peace, progress, freedom for all and development. Our diversity is our strength, and our unity is our power", he concluded.

The opening ceremony was also marked by the swearing-in of some new members of the 6th legislature. The first ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament, began on 1 July 2024, and will end on 24 July 2024.

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