March 10, 2021

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon.  Sidie Mohammed Tunis has said the Parliament is pushing to ensure governments of Member States make the COVID-19 vaccines available to all their citizens.

He made this known during the commemoration of the first anniversary of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament  in Abuja.

According to Tunis, the health of the people of the Community is more important to the ECOWAS Parliament than any other projects, hence the need for governments to prioritize vaccination for citizens irrespective of their status.

Rt. Hon Tunis said the fifth legislature was inaugurated in the wake of the global challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic and the availability of vaccines is a sigh of relief.

“In the light of the fight against COVID-19, it gives a sigh of relief to note that governments and Health Institutions within the sub-region have started procuring and acquiring vaccines. This is a welcome development, and as a Parliament we will continue to push and ensure that vaccines are made available to every citizen of the sub-region”.

“However, let me encourage everyone to keep all measures to keep us safe from contracting COVID-19 by observing all COVID-19 preventive measures. ECOWAS Parliament is advocating for governments to prioritize vaccines for everyone, health of the citizens are more important than any other projects”.

The vaccines should be available to everyone irrespective of who you are, either rich or poor, Tunis said.

And noted that although the fifth legislature was inaugurated amid the COVID-19 crises, one year after, great achievements have been recorded in policy advocacy and interventions in Member States.

The speaker said after the opening of the borders in 2020, the Parliament had three delocalized meetings in three different countries in the sub-region which yielded positive results. “Also opening of the borders motivated us to swing into action. We quickly rose to the occasion and organized three joint committee meetings in three different countries of the sub-region”.

It is worthy of mention that these meetings continue to yield positive results on member states.

“It is gratifying to report that some governments and National Assemblies in the sub-region have started implementing and adjusting policies on issues such as Cyber Security, African Continental Free Trade Area, Communications and education, economic policies and so much more. These developments were a direct outcome of our joint committee meetings.”

Arising from these meetings in December 2020 in Lagos, the report of the ad-hoc committee on direct Universal Suffrage recommends that parliaments ensure the elections of Members by Direct Universal Suffrage before the end of the fifth legislation in March 2024.

“Since inauguration, Members of parliament and staff have joined in strengthening election observation missions to five Member States; Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger”, Tunis said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/