Prez Buhari reaffirms Nigeria’s commitment to keep ECOWAS secure and politically stable

ECOWAS
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

By: RACHEL QUARTEY

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the commitment of his country to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the support of its partners to keep the sub-region peaceful, secure and politically stable.

He assured that Nigeria will support ECOWAS in every way possible to restore democratic rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

President Buhari gave the assurance during his address at the opening of the 2022 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, in Abuja – Nigeria, last Monday.

He said sustaining democracy and the rule of law should be the norm in the West Africa sub-region, taking into consideration the multiple political activities in some member states including Nigeria, as the country prepares to hold its 7th consecutive general election in the first quarter of 2023.

“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”, he said. Similarly, Sierra Leone and Liberia are also preparing for elections.

On the issue of election of Members of the ECOWAS Parliament by Direct Universal Suffrage, President Buhari recalled Nigeria’s assurance to support the process, provided it is conducted with minimum or at no cost at all, to the Community.

“Let me underscore that the ECOWAS Parliament can only fulfill its true mandate when it has a set of directly elected and dedicated Members. I believe that a membership of the ECOWAS Parliament, not drawn from serving members of Parliaments of Member States, would be a good step towards injecting our regional integration with new energy and initiative”.

As a country that believes strongly in regional integration and cooperation, he emphasized that Nigeria will continue to support all the ECOWAS Institutions domiciled within the country. Hence their pledge to construct a new headquarters for the ECOWAS Parliament.

“I had hoped for the completion and formal commissioning of the project before leaving office. The desire to create an ECOWAS complex, housing the Commission, the Parliament and the Court all in one arena, led to the delay”, he explained.

He confirmed that the harmonization in drawings and other technicalities have been concluded and there will be a ground-breaking ceremony for the new ECOWAS Commission’s headquarters, scheduled for 5th December which is to be constructed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

“The vision of the founding fathers of ECOWAS was to have a West Africa that is integrated economically with harmonized policies and enjoying free movement of persons, goods and services, as well as seamless right to establishment. We must continue to strive harder to attain those objectives”, he emphasised.

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