ECOWAS Parliament Backs State of Emergency
…Calls for Central and West Africa Security Summit
The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, has expressed its support for the steps taken by the Nigerian Government to address terrorism and insurgency North-East of the country.
The parliament's stand was made known by the Speaker of the Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, at the closing of the 2013 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja today.
This was even as the Miss ECOWAS Peace Ambassador, Zirra Banu, frowned at the use of youth of the sub-region in the execution of acts of terror and violence.
Senator Ekweremadu said: 'We support the Nigerian Government in taking every necessary and legitimate measure to contain terrorism in the country.
'We believe that Nigeria is at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in the sub-region and she must as a matter of fact wage successful war against terrorism in her territory to be able to assist fight terrorism and insurgency in other parts of West Africa.'
The speaker also called for greater security cooperation between the ECOWAS and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, to contain all forms of insurgency and terrorism in their member States.
'Because these are transnational crimes, a Summit of Heads of State and Government of both sub-regional Communities has become imperative to appraise the security situations and build better synergy in combating our common enemies', he said.
He expressed fear that unless collaborative measures are taken by both sub-regions to secure their common borders, terrorists and insurgents could elude security agencies by slipping into neighbouring countries when the heat is turned on them, but only to return to their dastardly acts when it is conducive again.
'Therefore, the two blocks must work together and simultaneously, to smoke the insurgents out and make sure they have no safe harbours in the whole of both West and Central Africa', Ekweremadu emphasised.
He warned that the parliament remained opposed to 'every form of forceful takeover of government, impunity, militancy, terrorism, and insurgency in the sub-region.'
Addressing the Parliament in plenary, the Miss ECOWAS Peace Ambassador, Zirra Banu expressed the support of the youth and women of the sub-region for the every necessary efforts to arrest the tide of insurgence and terrorism in the sub-region.
'The youth of the sub-region need jobs and human capital development, not insurgency and violence, to be able to unleash their immense potentials towards the development of the sub-region'
Meanwhile, the Speaker said the 2013 First Ordinary Session of the Parliament considered and approved all five Draft Protocols and Draft Plans of Action referred to it by the ECOWAS Commission.
Among them was the Draft Supplementary Act relating to the Establishment and Implementation of Joint Border Posts within Member states.
Others were the ECOWAS Security and its Administrative and General Conditions on Social Arrangement, the Supplementary Act on Social Dialogue Forum, the Regional Action Plan on Youth Employment, and the Regional Action Plan Against Child Labour.