The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Tunis has challenged Parliamentarians and governments of Member State on the need to harness the merits of the latest technological advancements, innovations and intelligence as viable tools to curb insecurity in the region.
The Speaker of the Community Parliament gave the challenge in his remarks, at the opening ceremony of the de-localised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights and Telecommunications and Information Technology of the ECOWAS Parliament, holding at Winneba, Ghana, from 27 – 30 July, 2021.
According to Dr. Tunis evidence shows that societies mired in violent conflict are often characterized by lack of development and shortage of economic opportunities.
“So, we must strive for the return of peace in our region as it remains the key component to sustainable development”, he added. “
“As the world continues to witness innovations and changes in the ICT architecture, the judicial system and its policy makers now have the opportunity to bring justice, law and order closer to the people.”
Through the rapid development of Telecommunications and Information Technology, he argued, administration of justice can be improved and made effective for the smooth running of the society.
“The digitization of legal systems is a development that has come to stay, and I have no doubt that if improved upon, life will be made easier for the people. “
This is because it stands to reason that peace can only prevail in a society that has justice and equity”, he said.
“Furthermore, it is pertinent to consider the conduct of elections, which is the bedrock of democracy and good governance considering this digital age. “
He noted that elections in the region continue to attract a lot of discussions.
“It is true that the Community is yet to attain the stature of most advanced democracies, where citizens express their rights through free and fair elections, thereby making their voices heard and their choices respected”.
He continued: “Our systems are still in the infancy stage and one major way to embrace rejuvenation is by ensuring that we roll out electoral reforms that can withstand the test of time.
The successes we have garnered in recent years must be consolidated through effective counting and monitoring systems, which have been provided for by technology.
To this end, beyond reforms, there must also be a system of accountability and redress that is void of violence and criminality”.
On the issue of the internet, Mr. Tunis noted that as the internet and other digital technologies expand the frontiers of businesses and exchange, cyberspace related crimes also increase.
“There is, therefore, a lot of danger if we do not have a harmonized system that ensures that cybercrimes of all sorts are not allowed to take place and in case they do, we should have the mechanisms in place to thwart calamities”.
The Speaker of the Community Parliament observed that whilst the region crave and yearn for more advancement in digital transformation, it must equip IT professionals and stakeholders with necessary policies to improve the functioning and efficiency of administrations, public policies and economies, as well as the well-being of our population.