The challenge of insecurity and terrorism has again been brought to the front burner of deliberations as the 2019 Second Ordinary Session of Parliament opened in Abuja on Wednesday.
Speaker Moustapha Cisse Lo giving a remark after declaring the session open, said it was unfortunate that West Africa still grappled with the challenge of insecurity, noting that the menace was hampering the development of the community.
He stressed that there was a close link between security, stability, democracy, peace and development, which he said are all necessary and interwoven. “Before addressing the content of this session, allow me to take some time to talk about the context in which this session is taking place, by starting immediately with the worrying security situation in our region, notably the persistence of terrorist attacks.
“The recurrent terrorist attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, where they have become more deadly, remind us the critical need to respond appropriately to this threat.
“Terrorism and insecurity have assumed unprecedented proportions in our region. They constitute a major challenge that needs to be absolutely addressed, inasmuch as we all agree that without peace and security, sustainable development is unachievable. “It is necessary for us to act now and vigorously to eradicate this spiral of violence. In this regard, the involvement of our States and the pooling of our forces and resources seem to me very important, failing which the fight against terrorism will remain ineffective.
“We express our solidarity with countries that have fallen victims to these barbaric attacks, which plunge families into mourning every day and cause massive displacement of populations. “Furthermore, we all paid particular attention to the events in Guinea-Bissau, which disrupted the political situation in the country in the run-up to the presidential election,” he pointed out.
The Speaker commended the Authority of Heads of State and Government for its emergency extraordinary session where it adopted urgent and stringent measures which had now paved way for the conduct of the Presidential election in Guinea Bissau which is to hold on Nov. 24. He disclosed plans by Parliament to send a delegation to Guinea Bissau along with a delegation from the Commission to observe the election. NO. 004/2019 21st November, 2019 “I want to stress that we place a great deal of hope in this presidential election, which is expected to enable Guinea Bissau to find a lasting solution to the political crisis it has been facing for many years.
“This election is to usher the people of Guinea-Bissau into a new era of peace and prosperity and contribute a great deal ‘to political stability at regional level, “he added. Also in a message at the occasion, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Brou again commended the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ‘for their constant support and all the facilities made available to ECOWAS for the success of this session’. He said that the Commission would be presenting the 2020 Budget proposal of the Community, calling for more synergy between Parliament and the Commission.
“Going forward, for parliament to play an enhanced role as a catalyst and lever for economic and social development, we must work in coordination and synergy, reinvigorate and restore our framework of exchanges of the Standing Committees of Parliament and departments of the ECOWAS Commission. “I will not conclude my remarks without assuring you that the Community Parliament and the Institutions as a whole will contribute more to meeting the challenges inherent in the regional integration process, in order to achieve the ECOWAS of Peoples in the light of Vision 2020.
In the goodwill message from the President of the Court of Justice, Hon. Edward Amoako, the need for partnership between Parliament and the Court, was emphasized by the honourable Justice who reminded Parliament that the Court was also instrumental to achieving its currently enhanced powers. Justice Amoako used the opportunity to bare the major challenges of the Court which bordered mainly on its membership and tenure of the five-member Justices as amended in 1991 and 2006.
He told the Plenary that the Court was now faced with a situation where its members are appointed and retire at the same time thereby “leading to a complete disruption of the jurisprudence as well as a loss of the institutional memory of the Court.”, appealling to Members of Parliament to intervene in some of the challenges that had been outlined.
The Second Ordinary Session which is the budget consideration session of the Parliament will end on Dec. 14, 2019.