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COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2012 Selected
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En Français
N°: 043/2012
7 March 2012 [ABUJA]

MINISTER TASKS ECOWAS LEGAL EXPERTS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, TENDERS CODE

							
	Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has 
urged legal experts from ECOWAS Member States to work towards bequeathing to 
the Community an acceptable common legal regime with regard to freedom of 
expression and right to information, as fundamental rights in the region.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday, 5th March 2012 at the opening of the meeting of 
the ECOWAS Technical Committee on Legal and Judicial Affairs, the Minister 
represented by Federal Attorney, Mrs. Victoria Umoren, described as “a step in 
the right direction,” the Draft Supplementary Act on the Uniform Legal 
Framework on Freedom of Expression and Right to Information in West Africa, 
submitted for the adoption of the legal experts.

“There is no doubt that this (Draft Act) would greatly enhance the right to 
information and freedom of expression which are fundamental human rights 
issues enshrined in our respective National Constitutions and varied 
International Treaties and Conventions,” the Minister affirmed.

The Draft Supplementary Act seeks to provide a uniform framework to protect 
freedom of expression and the right to information within the context of 
improving the environment for democracy and good governance in the region.

It provides common expansive and libertarian legal framework for free 
expression including media freedom, and for the right to information thereby 
setting the condition for the reform/repeal of anti-free expression 
legislations in ECOWAS Member States.

The document is one of the two legal texts being considered by the meeting. 
The other text is the Draft ECOWAS Tenders Code, which the Minister said “is 
important in ensuring that Member States share a common responsibility in the 
overall modalities taken by the ECOWAS Commission to put in place an enabling 
Tenders’ Code.”

He expressed confidence in the commitment of Member States to the ideals of 
ECOWAS with respect to Ethics infringement, adding that envisaged sanctions 
would be meted out to defaulters under the legal text.

The Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga Mcintosh, said the draft 
Tenders Code when adopted will replace the existing one which was adopted by 
the Council of Ministers in 1999, and which governs all contractual 
obligations related to procurement within the Community institutions and 
between the Community and Third Parties.

“The new Procurement Code, if adopted, will indeed avail the institutions of 
the Community with a more efficient and effective procurement system for their 
procurement requirements,” said Dr. Mcintosh, who represented the President of 
the Commission, His
Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

The Uniform Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, he said, would ensure 
that Member States maintain the standards agreed to and set in many 
international Conventions as well as serve to entrench the independence of the 
Media and Media Professionals within the legal jurisprudence, and regulate 
operations of the Print and Broadcast Media in the region.

In her opening remarks, the ECOWAS Director, Legal, Mrs. Henrietta Didigu, 
noted that the meeting was the first under the Commission’s new management 
team.

Cote d’Ivoire, the current chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State 
and Government, later took over chair of the Technical Committee from Nigeria.


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