PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2013 Selected
En Français
N°: 070/2013
17 March 2013 [Uyo - Nigeria]

SPEAKER CALLS FOR ENHANCED POWERS OF ECOWAS PARLIAMENT

							
	The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on Friday, 15th 
March 2013 in Uyo, capital of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State, urged stakeholders to 
support a draft Act for the enhancement of the legislative powers of the 
institution to enable it serve the Community better and in accordance with 
international best practices.

Senator Ekweremadu, Deputy President of Nigeria’s upper legislative Chamber, 
the Senate, told participants of an ECOWAS Retreat that the move would equip 
the Parliament with the requisite powers to effectively compliment the 
activities of other Community institutions in fulfilling the aspirations of 
the Community.

"It is my belief that a legislating ECOWAS Parliament will not only conform to 
International Conventions and best practices in regional integration, but 
would fast track the transition to an ECOWAS of People," he said in his 
presentation to the 7th joint Retreat of the ECOWAS Commission, Community 
Institutions, Permanent and Special Representatives and Heads of National 
Units.
The Community parliament presently plays largely advisory and consultative 
role.

The draft Supplementary Act is in response to the 2006 Decision of regional 
leaders authorising the revision of the legal text setting up the institution 
towards enhancing its powers. It provides for direct election into the 
institution, oversight of sectoral policies and confirmation of statutory 
appointees, establishment of office of Parliamentary Ombudsman, and the 
integration of the parliament into the regional conflict resolutions and 
management architecture.

Speaker Ekweremadu said the ECOWAS Vision 2020 for transformation into an 
ECOWAS of People should not be seen as a "well-worded banner, but should mark 
the beginning of a radical shift in the strategy of the Community," where 
Community priorities are citizen-driven and not determined by convenience.
While stressing that the time was auspicious for such enhancement, he 
highlighted the contributions of the Parliament to regional integration, 
especially in democracy and good governance; peace, security and stability, 
and the promotion of trade and free movement. Also, in the Economic 
Partnership Agreement (EPA) being negotiated between West Africa and the 
European Union, the Parliament has called for a visa-free regime to be 
integrated into the impending Agreement.

The Parliamentary Speaker said the free visa regime would contribute to 
balanced trade and cooperation, describing as "unacceptable diplomatic let 
down and economic setback, a situation where qualified and credible ECOWAS 
business persons and government officials are denied visa to enter and carry 
out legitimate businesses in Europe."

During question and answer session after the presentation, the President of 
the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo said the 
Commission has initiated the process for the development of a legal document 
to boost the powers of the Parliament.

The President of the Community Court, Justice Nana Awa Daboya made a 
presentation on the role of the institution in regional integration and listed 
some recommendations to strengthen its contribution.

These include the ratification of Community Protocols, allowing the Court 
jurisdiction over serious violation of human rights, institution of a 
mechanism for implementing the decisions of the Court and designating focal 
points in Member States for the execution of the Court’s decisions and an 
increase in the number of the judges of the Court.

There were also presentations by other community institutions including the 
West African Health Organisation, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and 
Development and the West African Power Pool.

The three-day 7th joint retreat is discussing the mechanism for coordinated 
implementation of regional integration programmes in Member States.



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