By Ochiaka Ugwu
The President of Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has urged ECOWAS Parliamentarians meeting in Abuja to legislate towards fostering peace and democracy in West African sub region.
Dr. Saraki who made this known yesterday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the second ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament said the time is now to face the region’s challenges such as peace and economic growth.
Saraki represented by his deputy, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu expressed optimism in the region saying that it is a time of renewed hope for the region’s future with new opportunities.
His words, “Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of Parliament, I urge you to seize the opportunity of the newly acquired and hard won legislative powers of this Assembly to defeat forces that militate against the peace and development of West Africa. Let us use these enhanced powers to enthrone a regional governance framework whose foundations are laid on democratic principles.
“This Ordinary Session is being convened at a most auspicious moment in the history of this Assembly. It is a time of renewed hope for the West African future with new opportunities as well as challenges we must find the courage to tackle. There are a myriad of issues confronting our people as well as many impediments to peace and economic growth” he said.
He expressed confidence of the assembly bringing resolutions that will borne out of hard work saying they are men of vision and commitment.
“The resolutions to these will be borne out of the hard work of committed ECOWAS parliamentarians working in close collaboration with regional Executive in order that we can move West Africa and her peoples forward. I am confident that this Assembly comprises such visionary and committed parliamentarians as needed to undertake the task”.
The Chairman of Nigeria’s federal parliament made strong case for achieving Vision 2020 which he said will birth “ECOWAS of the People” that will restore hope to West African citizenry.
Also speaking, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo who, thanked West African Heads of State and government for their support assured that they will incredible work hard to ensure that parliament fully exercise new powers conferred onto it.
He noted that the present session is devoid to the responsibility given the fact that it will be dedicated to the consideration of the community budget which he said is one of the most prestigious parliamentary powers.
Continuing, Mr. Moustapha Cisse Lo said the assembly will continue with other projects that it has already embarked upon especially the visits to borders that is within the framework of sensitization campaigns on the free movement of the persons and goods and assess issues relating to migration, free movement, peace, security and human rights.
Speaking also, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza who was represented by the Vice-President of the Commission, Mr. Edward Singhatey while thanking Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Macky Sall for their support to the commission urged the parliamentarians to legislate towards making ECOWAS an institution that will live up to the aspiration of its people.
He called for institutional reform that will engender good governance, peace and achieve poverty eradication.
The President of Senegal, Mr. Macky Sall called for eradication of unnecessary trade tariff, unauthorized searching and investment on infrastructure which he said was in tandem with Vision 2020.