The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza, has expressed frustration over the paucity of funds that has hit the commission.
Mr. Souza disclosed this when he led a delegation from the commission to pay a courtesy visit on the Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijat Abba -Ibrahim
He said the financial situation of the commission had become quite precarious.
“The precarious situation is tied to the economic situation in member states and the fact that the price of oil had dropped.”
“The community levy which represents ninety per cent of our funding is no longer regularly paid by most member states.”
He expressed concerns that many member states no longer paid their levy to the Commission including Nigeria who owned about 694,000 dollars to the commission.
He said that Cote Ivory Coast, Cape Verde and Senegal were major defaulters and that “because of the debt burden ECOWAS is now losing its credibility.”
Mr. Souza also added that the bills of peace keeping troops sent to Guinea Bissau and Mali were yet to be paid stressing that “peace comes with a cost “.
He attributed the financial challenges to the economic difficulties of member states.
The commission boss, however, called on the government of Nigeria to come to their aid.
“Without Nigeria and without its contribution we will not be able to sustain our activities, I appeal to Nigeria to support us to restore our credibility,” he said.”
“Nigeria has a great role to play; therefore we cannot ignore the leadership role that Nigeria plays in the region with its three hundred and twenty million inhabitants, therefore the challenges that the ECOWAS face cannot be tackled without Nigeria.”
Nigeria has a great role to play. We appeal to Nigeria to respond to our pleas,” he appealed.
Responding , the to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijah Bukar Abba Ibrahim assured them of Nigeria’s commitment to the commission and promised to have more discussions on how to tackle the situation .
She congratulated the ECOWAS president on his appointment stressing that his prudence experience would help in addressing the challenges of the commission
According to her the issue of security is a thing of general concern and that it is necessary that forces are paid on time to give them the incentives to fight terrorism.