Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has sought the support of Nigeria’s government towards transforming the body into an organ with full legislative powers rather than its mere current advisory role.
The Speaker of the Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu made this appeal when he led the members of the parliament on a courtesy call on Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru in Abuja, Friday evening where he disclosed that the parliament already got the support of several ECOWAS Heads of State including that of the Chairman, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Ekweremadu, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian Senate said it would be a good legacy for Nigeria if the bid for the enhancement of powers is realised during the tenure of a Nigerian as the Speaker of the Parliament.
He cited the example of the parliament to the European Union Commission that is so empowered that it can even make confirmations for some appointments in the commission.
He also harped on the need for the ECOWAS states to ensure the actualisation of the Free Movement Protocol among the member states and stop the harassment of ECOWAS citizens in ECOWAS states.
“Nigeria’s support for all our protocols is very crucial because of its strategic importance and sheer size in the sub-region. We want to see our people integrate fully. We know there are divining lines, but they were created by the colonial masters and we want to see them disappear,” he said.
Ashiru, in his response said the parliament holds similar views with Nigeria on various issues of discourse in the sub-region such as Mali, Guinea Bissau and the declaration of a state of emergency in some states in northern Nigeria.