By Linda Ike
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to restoring democratic rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina-Faso.
Buhari also pledged to ensure peace, and political stability in the West African Sub-region.
He stated this on Monday at the opening of the 2022 Second Extra Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), Parliament in Abuja.
Buhari assured that Nigeria is committed to supporting ECOWAS institutions to ensure that the member states are all returned to constitutional rule.
He also pledged his commitment to conduct a free, fair and credible polls in the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
“Let me reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to ECOWAS efforts, with the support of our Partners to keep the region peaceful, secure and politically stable.
“In this regard, Nigeria remains committed to supporting ECOWAS to restore democratic rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.
“We are convinced that the sustenance of democracy and the rule of law should remain the norm in this promising region.
“As you are aware, there will be multiple political activities in some ECOWAS Member States, including Nigeria, where general elections are due to hold in February and March 2022.
“Let me seize this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to free, fair and transparent elections and smooth transitions. This is one legacy that I want my administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria, but to the region as a whole.
“At the regional level, Sierra Leone and Liberia are also preparing for elections. As in the past, Nigeria is ready to stand by any country in the region that is committed to organising free and fair elections,” Buhari said.
Buhari also expressed concern that the global economic downturn has deeply affected the economies of the sub-region and resulted in dire economic hardships for the citizens of the Community.
He urged ECOWAS Parliamentarians to perform their sacred responsibility of considering the Community budget with diligence, while bearing in mind the sacrifice of various countries in the payment of Community Levy.
He also tasked them to remain conscious of the many challenges besieging the region and be sensitive to the needs of the people.
Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Tunis stated that the 2022 extra ordinary session mandates the Parliament to consider the Consolidated Community Budget.
According to him, members of the Parliament have been charged to ensure that the Budget is directed towards programs that address the needs, aspirations and interest of the people.
Tunis said that with the looming crises facing the region, urgency is required by all actors to reflect the mandate of ECOWAS founding fathers for positive impact.
He further called for deeper collaboration to enable the demonstration of political will to tackle the security and climate change menace in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“In discharging this all-important assignment, let us bear in mind the challenges we face from urgent and looming crises in our Community.
“We must summon the will, courage and commitment to act in ways that will impact positively on our region.
“Permit me to state that as a region, we are confronted with unending chaos and crises, which are threatening the gains we have made in the recent past,” the Speaker said.
Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Head of State and Government, and President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo lamented the unconstitutional take over of government in the region.
Embalo retreated ECOWAS commitment and determination to ensure that constitutional order is restored in Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali which are still under the control of military junta.
He said there is need to expand the economy of the region to create more wealth for community members.
On his part, the President of the Economic Community of West African State, Commission Dr. Omar Touray called for more stringent action to tackle terrorists and violent extremism in the Sahel region.
Touray said that these violent acts which have built up in the Sahel are spreading to the Coaster state, thus threatening regional peace and stability.
He called for the need for ECOWAS region to deploy mechanisms aimed at curtailing threats to citizens’ security while seeking to surmount hunger and poverty in the region.
The President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward Asante urged the ECOWAS Parliamentarians to join forces with the Court to defend democracy and the rights of the community citizens in the face of human rights abuses.
He stressed that this collective approach will go a long way in deepening the region’s democratic governance to guarantee the effective discharge of its mandate.
Currentnews.com.ng reports that the meeting of the 2022 second extra ordinary session is committed to the Consideration of the Consolidated Community Budget for the year 2023, Consideration of Reports from Joint, Standing and Ad hoc Committees, Consideration of Reports from Fact-Finding and Oversight
The Budget will be focused on four strategic objectives: Enhanced Peace and Security, Deeper Regional Integration, Good Governance, Inclusive and Sustained Development.