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ECOWAS PARLIAMENT: MP suggests election of MPs to address absenteeism

A member of the Nigerian delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Foster Ogola has said election of lawmakers to represent a constituency from their home country to the community Parliament would help address absenteeism.

According to Senator Ogola, the current arrangement makes things difficult for lawmakers within the community parliament, as they have to balance work in their various National Assembly and the community Parliament.

“The complain has always been against Nigerian lawmakers for not attending session, but whiles the community Parliament is working here, we have very important sessions also going on in our National Assemblies like in my country”, he stated.

He made this known in an interview in the wake of the Speaker of the Community Parliament, H. E. Mustapha Cisse Lo lamenting over absenteeism, and expressing reservation about lawmakers from host country Nigeria not attending the session.

Mr. Ogola further noted that ECOWAS Parliament should go by the Council of Heads of States’ suggestion where the country’s with representation should have a constituency to represent them so that they can dedicate and devote their time and not have divided attention

According to him, the European Parliament is doing something near that, and it would be good for the community parliament to go that way, where we have an electoral organisation responsible for that.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

ELECTION OF ECOWAS MPs: Kofi Humado believes a decision should have been taken by now

As the powers of the fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been enhanced, issue of absenteeism has come up with once again with Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo expressing worry.

In the first Ordinary Session, the Speaker had cause to ensure allowance of lawmakers who do not show up are blocked and lamented over the poor attendance of Nigerians. In the ongoing second Ordinary Session, the community lawmakers have been cautioned they would have their allowances blocked if they fail to attend the session.

Ghana’s Member of Parliament for Anlo and member of the Community Parliament speaking on the development said a firm decision on the election of members to the community parliament should have been taken by now to address the situation.

According to the Anlo lawmaker, it is difficult for the lawmakers in the community Parliament to take such decision since they are representing other Parliaments as well. “If we make that recommendation, is like we are self destroying ourselves”.

He proposed that an independent institution would have to propose or make such a recommendation. The ECOWAS Commission have to recommend to the heads of that, but it would have to go through the Council of Ministers first before getting to the level of Authority of Heads of States.

When questioned during an interview if this proposal would receive favorable recognition from the Council of Minister, he responded that they should be able to understand the situation which would have a favourable response.

Mr. Humado pointed out that current situation of balancing once work as a lawmaker in the Community Parliament and the National Assembly is not easy, because one needs to attend to his party and constituency needs to.

“This issue has become serious because of the enhanced powers either to the legislature was just a consultative body, now more work is expected, we are expected to look at the community budget. We have delocalized oversight, two Ordinary Session in a year and extra Ordinary Sessions.

Also, so many things put pressure on us as lawmakers. The lasting solution may be election of MPs from the various member countries for the purpose of the representation of the ECOWAS Parliament”, he concluded.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament’s appeal on border in right direction –Ahi

A representative of Ghana’s delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Sampson Ahi has endorsed the appeal made by the Speaker H. E.  Moustapha Cisse Lo for the re-openning of the closed Nigeria border, in his open remarks of the second Ordinary Session in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to the Ghanaian lawmaker the closure has affected Ghanaian business men and women and has economic implications.

He further called on the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the borders are opened for free flow of goods and service, as in the ECOWAS protocol.

Responding to a question in an interview on whether each state should not protect its national interest as far as its economy is concerned, he said, “it should be done diplomatically, you should first of all inform the member states of your move so that they prepare”.

He further emphasised that you cannot wake up one day and close your border, and pointed out that a visit to the Nigeria, Benin border would give a clear picture of thousand of trucks with their goods stranded at the  border.

“There should be engagement and consultation on this issue among member states, with the position of Nigeria in the whole regional integration process, Nigeria stands tall, so any steps taking without the cooperation of other member states has serious effects”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Let’s work together to give ECOWAS Parliament its rightful place — Speaker

Speaker of the West African sub-regional community Parliament, H. E. Mustapha Cisse Lo in opening the second Ordinary Session in Abuja Nigeria has called on lawmakers to work together to place the legislature in its rightful place among most dynamic Parliaments in tomorrow’s world.

According to the Speaker the Ordinary Session is a budget session and is the most important milestone this year in the fourth legislature which is expected to be completed on 3rd of February 2020.

As part of the institutional reforms we need to position the parliament as a model to emulate when it comes to good management and good governance, he stated.

Speaker Cisse Lo lamented over the recurrent terrorists attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, which had become more deadly and reminded lawmakers on the critical need to respond appropriately to the threat.

Hence there is the need for us to act now and vigorously to eradicate this spiral of violence and we need the involvement of our states and the pooling of our forces and resources is very important, failing which the fight against terrorism will remain ineffective, he added.

The recruitment process initiated since 2017 was completed in July this year with twenty-eight (28) general service staffs all whom assumed office on the 2nd September, 2019.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 28, paragraph b of the supplementary Act  on the enhancement of the powers of the parliament, “three months prior to the end of each Legislature, the President of the ECOWAS Commission shall request Member states to elect their ECOWAS representatives”.

He added that in the coming days he would send letters to the Speakers of national assemblies of Member states to take steps for the installation of the Fifth Legislature of the Community Parliament, and wished those who will be elected under the Fifth Legislature the best of success in their achievement of goals set for the ECOWAS Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Ghanaian ECOWAS delegation proposes office of trade arbiter

The Ghanaian delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has proposed for the establishment of an office of trade arbiter to be responsible for arbitration trade violations and conflicts.

This came to light when Clemet Kofi Humado presented Ghana’s country report on Friday, November 22, 2019 in Abuja Nigeria.

The objective of the country report is to share information on how each country is implementing the protocols and treaties.

It is to peer review mechanism where member countries of ECOWAS debate each country report, make suggestions and recommendations to enable the integration process move forward.

Ghana’s report covered issues such as the political, security and human rights especially of women and children, proliferation of small arms and money laundering, refugee status as well as internally displaced persons among others.

What attracted most attention in the country report Ghana presented was the position of Ghanaian delegation on the closure of the Nigerian – Benin border and its effect on trade between Ghana and Nigeria as well as other neighbours of Nigeria.

“The action taken by Nigeria is in violation of the ECOWAS protocol on Trade Liberalization scheme ETLS”, he lamented.

In addition, the delegation suggested that ECOWAS Commission expand the mandate of the present task force on ETLS and convert it into an office of Trade Ombudsman, which would have the mandate to receive veracity of claims by parties as well as determine guilty party within the framework.

“If the accused party or country is guilty, then the necessary sanctions are applied. This will be better than leaving countries to take unilateral actions that will result into hardships and defeat the purpose of free movement of persons and goods within the sub region”.

This suggestion received loud applause from members of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo and community lawmakers praised Ghana as a beacon of democracy and relative peace and urged other countries in the West African sub-region to learn from the democratic credentials and pedigree of Ghana.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Speaker Cisse Lo to lead ECOWAS Parliament delegation to Mali

Speaker of West African sub-regional community Parliament has given indications of leading a delegation from the Parliament to visit the Republic of Mali as he is worried about the current prevailing political situation in that country.

According to the Speaker during the second Ordinary Session on going in Abuja Nigeria, he would lead a delegation to embark on this visit.

“We are negotiating with the opposition so that the dialogue they want to organize in Mali, we can see the various stakeholders, civil society groups, and the opposition for them to express themselves with their situation to see what ECOWAS and the UN can do for them”.

He made this remarks on Saturday, November 23, 2019, after Mali had presented its country report on Friday 22nd of this month but due to technical hitches, the House had to conclude the following day.

In Mali’s country report, it noted that the unprecedented and multidimensional crises it has faced since 2012 requires Malians to engage in dialogue, in order to build a concerted vision that is at par with the current challenges.

On the political situation of the country, it noted that, demonstrations and strikes that have marked 2018 and 2019 with regards to the President of the Republic, were expressions of the social discontent and deterioration of the political climate.

Postponement of the legislative elections and the double extension of the term of the National Assembly added to the political tension.

The recent development in the security situation has added to the dysfunctional of state institutions and the disintegration of social link and national cohesion the report said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Speaker urges ECOWAS states to emulate Ghana in enforcing court judgments

Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, H.E. Mustapha Cisse Lo has urged states within the Sub-region to emulate Ghana by enforcing judgment given by the community court of justice.

According to the Speaker at a localized meeting held in Ghana when he called on President Nana Akufo-Addo at the presidency during their discussion, the issue of Heads of States recommendation pertaining to the court of justice ruling was touched on.

Ghana has upheld, “so fare states do whatever want and do not apply the decisions of the courts that should not be the case, Heads of States have said each country should set up a judicial authority to monitor the decisions of the court of justice”.

He added that Ghana was the first country to ensure that there is equity of justice, but lamented that Ghana did not present this whiles presenting its country report

“We need to enforce this, so that citizens within ECOWAS who apply to the court of justice and win their case would have their rights upheld”.

H. E Mustapha Cisse Lo made this observation on Saturday in Abuja Nigeria when he presided to ensure that finality is brought to discussion of Ghana’s country report which was presented on Friday 22nd of November 2019. But the House had to break and come the following day because of technical hitches.

The second Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament is underway and the following countries have presented their country reports and had been adopted. They include Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Cote D’ivore, Niger, Gambia, Senegal, with Guinea’s country report not adopted yet for political committee to go on verification and report to the House.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

Three new MPs from Guinea Bissau sworn in

The opening of the Second Ordinary Session of the fourth legislature on Wednesday November 19, 2019 witnessed three new lawmakers from Guinea Bissau being sworn in as members of the fourth legislature.

They are   Gabreiela Alfredo Fernandes, Cariamo Camara and Narciano Indi who took their oath of office in front of their colleagues in Abuja Nigeria.

Mr. Mahtarr M. Jeng from Gambia drew the attention of the Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo that colleagues who have served the fourth Legislature and are leaving should be given an appreciation letter in recognition of work done by outgoing colleagues.

His remarks caught the attention of his colleagues on the floor of the House who clapped to show support for his contribution.

Speaker Mustapha Cisse Lo acknowledged his contribution as laudable and promised to forward his sentiment to the appropriate body for a decision to be taken on that.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

We need more female lawmakers home to reflect in next ECOWAS Parliament—K. Sesay

As the life span of the fourth Legislature of the Economic Community of West Africa Stats (ECOWAS) come to an end next year February, a female lawmaker of the Sierra Leone delegation, Veronica Sesay is advocating for thirty percent female representation in the various National Assemblies.

According to Sesay if the fifteen countries that form ECOWAS get thirty percent representation of female lawmakers it would increase, female representation of the fifth Legislature of the West African sub-regional Community Parliament.

In an interview, she pointed out that even as she is a new member of the fourth legislature, it’s mainly male dominated and there is the need to increase the female representation.

“Charity begins at home, in my country we are working hard to enact law thirty percent female representation in the National Assembly, let me tell you what men can do women can do better, you can attest to that”.

She cited an example of country report of Cote D’ivore presented by a woman, “we are mothers, and we are makers and partners in development, we should be seen working side by side with our male counterparts.

Biblically we were taken from the ribs of men therefore you should recognise that fact that we can do things better, if we encourage more women in the community Parliament it would be a vibrant Parliament”.

In the first  Ordinary Session, when the only female among the Ghanaian delegation Ama Pomaa Boateng presented Ghana’s country report she received loud recognition from both male and female colleagues.

Second Deputy Speaker Aminata Kamara Toungara questioned why Ghana has had only a female representation among its delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.

She further revealed that language barer is another thing militating against the women caucus of ECOWAS Parliament to come together to fight for more female representation.

“We are trying to see if the Parliament can organize for us to learn French and Portuguese, which are the official languages used in here, at least the basics with that we would be able to pass our messages across”.

And lamented that sometimes when they go for their meetings, they do not have translators, “how do you express yourself that is a problem. The Parliament should give us thirty minutes to learn these languages.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja

ECOWAS Parliament is welcomed to Guinea for its fact findings — Souleymane Bah

A member of the Guinea delegation to the Community Parliament, Alpha Souleymane Bah has defended his countries report on the floor of the House, despite criticism from his colleagues on the political situation in his country.

According to Souleymane, the political and security committee of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament is welcomed to his country any time to assess the political situation in his country.

In an interview, he noted that the President does not intend to stay in office after his tenure in 2020. “The President has never said that so if this is a problem we have nothing to hide”.

He further added that the committee from ECOWAS Parliament should speak to government side and the opposition.

In addition the ECOWAS Commission has asked someone to intervene in the person of Dr. Ibn Chambas to speak with government and the opposition.

“There is no problem, now the opposition wants to come to the table to talk, my country is peaceful, since independence we have been peaceful we have never been at war”, he assured.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com/Abuja