Monday, 7 July 2014

Benin Speaker of parliament calls for Regional Cooperation to fight Terrorism in Africa

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Benin, Prof Mathurin Coffi Nago has stressed the need for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to move beyond the rhetoric of integration and begin to institute mechanisms to fight terrorism and the uncontrolled movement of weapons in the West African sub-region.

According to him, these challenges “posed serious threat to peace and security for countries in the sub-region and have become a source discomfort at political, economic and social levels."

“The other danger of uncontrolled movement of arms is terrorism which unfortunately has already infiltrated some of our states, spreading terror and panic in our communities. This means that no state is saved, regardless of the nature of the regime,” he said.

He observed that these crises are a result of the ills plaguing the people and they include poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, corruption and bad governance.

Prof Nago noted that all these challenges can be met successfully if we conduct joint actions in a dynamic mutual solidarity and a better resources management in our respective countries.

He stressed the need for the heads of the various ECOWAS member states to find solutions that could be implemented in all the countries and called on the Parliaments of the various states to also come together to help address the challenges. “By doing so, we will finally address the major issues of current concern in the region, particularly the challenges of governance, poverty, peace and security,” he noted.

Prof Nago said parliamentary cooperation was of great importance because it would allow the law makers to exchange on all major problems and contribute to their solutions. He touched on the imminent Conference of Speakers of West African Parliaments slated for Cotonou in September this year to create the platform for the speakers to make contribution to the democratic process and socioeconomic integration in the sub region.

Earlier, the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, in a remark said a charter was currently being developed to strengthen and revitalize the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments of West African States.

“I am convinced that the preamble and the objects of the draft charter are aligned to the vision and aspirations of the revised ECOWAS Treaty and sufficient to help realize our desired goals of strengthening parliamentary democracy and achieving an integrated and united Community of West Africa through the application of modern instruments of parliamentary diplomacy,” he said.

He said the conference was aimed at building legislative harmony in pursuit of the wellbeing of the citizens of ECOWAS. Mr. Adjaho expressed the Ghanaian Parliament’s commitment to supporting the conference and other initiatives aimed at strengthening the political and economic integration of the sub-region.


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