The Nigerian Government has been commended for securing the release and safe return of the 82 Chibok school girls, abducted three years ago by boko haram.
The commendation was made at the First Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo, expressed his conviction that in the same spirit and commitment, the Nigerian government will succeed in rescuing the remaining girls who are still held by boko haram.
“I must first of all congratulate the Government of Nigeria, which, while inflicting heavy losses on the extremist boko haram sect, succeeded through dialogue in freeing at least 82 of the Chibok girls who have been abducted three years ago,” he said.”
Speaker Cisse Lo stated that the fight against terrorism is now priority in the programs of the ECOWAS Member States as it has become imperative to mobilize the defense and security forces of Member States especially for events that bring citizens together.
President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki challenged the Parliament to prove itself as an effective instrument for fostering closer ECOWAS integration and development.
Senator Saraki expressed a desire to “see the Parliament use its powers of advice to enable greater democratization and provide advice to member countries going through uncertain times.”
He also called for the use of law as a veritable tool for developmental co-operation amongst Member States, whilst acknowledging that the institutional role of the ECOWAS Parliament needs to be strengthened, in order to enable it play the pivotal role in the developmental aspirations of the region.
Senator Saraki commended the ECOWAS Heads of State and Authority for approving the quest for enhancing the status of the ECOWAS Parliament to include budget and integration matters and also identified the implication of this enhancement to include the direct election of Members of the Parliament by the citizens of the Community.
On the issue of insecurity, Senator Saraki said that the problem of boko haram and terrorism remains a clear threat to the security of the sub-region, noting that the release of 82 Chibok girls was a huge achievement for the entire region.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza said the implementation of the Supplementary Act would help in speeding up the process of regional integration in West Africa.
He also called for the urgent implementation and enforcement of the Act.
Mr. Souza explained that with the adoption of the Supplementary Act, it has become imperative and important for it to be implemented and enforced without delay.
“I believe this Supplementary Act would significantly contribute to accelerating our regional integration.
“The full implementation of the Supplementary Act will enhance transparency and could result to greater feeling of ownership among Member States, of Community policies and programmes,” he stated.
Mr. de Souza noted that the Supplementary Act constitutes the ideal framework for efficient collaboration between the Parliament and all other ECOWAS institutions, and that it will also enhance the competence of the Parliament.
He challenged Members of the Parliament to actualize the application of the pertinent articles of the Supplementary Act as envisaged by the Heads of State and Government, assuring of the Commission’s readiness to work in concert with the Parliament for the implementation of the Supplementary Act.
The First Ordinary Session, which is due to close on the 25th of May, will amongst other things consider and adopt the draft Report of the 2017 Extraordinary Session and Country Reports from Member States.
It will also hold discussions with the High Representative of the Republic of Ireland on the experience of Ireland in the area of peace and security as well as familiarize with the Office of the delegation of International Committee of the Red Cross in Nigeria, on its mandate and activities.
During the two-week long Session, the Parliamentarians are expected to consider and adopt the Reports, Draft Agenda and Work programme of its Standing, Ad Hoc and Joint Committees.