May 11, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed most institutions to hold virtual conference because most boarders are closed to air, sea and road travels.

A member of Ghana’s delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mr. Mahama Ayariga has revealed that the Rt. Honourable Speaker of the fifth Parliament Sidie Mohamed Tunis is in talks with Secretary General, Mr. John Azumah in planning a virtual session for the parliament.

According to him a virtual meeting is possible since ECOWAS as an institution has started adopting the technology, with the meeting in recent times of Authority of Heads of States and Government.

“Given that airports are closed within the sub-region, meeting in Abuja is impossible and any other place in the West Africa sub-region”.

Mr. Ayariga in an interview noted that with the virtual session, the community lawmakers can participate from their various countries. he spoke with the Speaker on Wednesday 6th of May 2020.

According to him, he spoke with the Speaker on the virtual meeting, and “He drew my attention that zoom has interpretation facility, when I raised the issue of how interpretation was going to be done because there are three formal languages English, French and Portuguese. As usual, when we are in session there is simultaneous interpretation so that as we speak we can understand each other because I have never used zoom, in a situation where the participants are all using different languages”.

The inauguration of the fifth ECOWAS Legislature was held in Niamey, Niger from March 9, 2020,  by then Niger had not recorded a single case of the novel COVID-19 and the number of infected person in member states were not huge as it is currently.

Per the usual calendar of ECOWAS Parliament, first Extra Ordinary Session meetings are held in months of May and June for a month, where there are presentation of country reports which are peer reviewed, followed by Committee meetings and presentation by Institutions on matters affecting the sub-region.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/