Apparently feeling the heat of the economic recession in Nigeria, member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yes- terday bemoaned the economic conditions in the country, blaming it on the sharp drop in the price of crude oil, as well as what it described as the never ending attack on Nigeria’s oil facilities by agitated youths in the Niger Delta region of the country.
The community’s parliamen- tarians expressed these concerns during the 2017 1st Extraordinary Session of the 4th Legislature holding in Abuja.
The ECOWAS Parliamen- tarians also joined millions of Nigerians as well as well-wishers around the world to pray for the health and speedy recovery of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo said: “I learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in London, Great Britain for health reasons, I wish him, on your behalf, a quick recovery.
“On the economic front and as it concerns Nigeria, our host country, has been suffering since 2015, particularly from the fall in the price of barrel of crude oil and the never-ending attacks of its oil installations by rebel groups, resulting in revenue loss for the government, a high inflation and shortage of foreign currencies.
“The decrease in petroleum revenue lays bare the real fragility of the budget.”
He however, appreciated Nigeria for all her support in ensuring that the parliamentarians are comfortable and are able to carry out their functions in a peaceful and secured environment.
Cisse Lo, also commended his colleagues for their indefatigable support in ensuring that the agenda for 2016 were achieved particularly, the adoption of the Supplementary Act which is being considered as a major landmark towards the full integration of the region.
“But the year 2016 was particularly the year during which the adoption process of the Supplementary Act enhancing the powers of the Parliament, set in motion by the previous legislatures, was accelerated.
According to him: “It is now for each and every one of us to consolidate on this achievement and work harder in ensuring improvement in democracy in our community.
“Therefore, we must summon up the courage, perseverance and determination to pursue and intensify reforms aimed at boosting the input of Parliament in the integration process.”
Earlier, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza disclosed that in pursuant of institution reforms called by the Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Commission was able to save about $12 million in operational costs of its institutions in 2016.
The president who was represented by his Vice, Ed- ward Singhatey, said that the efficient cost control measures had been implemented to make the organization more effective and credible.
“The cost cutting measures were put in place by the new management when we took over office in March 2016. There was an urgent need for those measures to be put in place because when we assumed the role of management; we found out that the commission was in a precarious financial situation.
“We had to look at the financ- ing that was available vis a vis the projects and activities we were supposed to implement and rationalize them; we had to prioritize them and rationalize our expenditure.
Lift up Buhari in prayers, Atiku tells Nigerians
Also yesterday, former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar called on Nigerians of all faiths to lift up President Buhari in prayers.
Atiku said: “Everyone of us is a mere mortal, irrespective of how great or highly accomplished they are. We deserve the care and support of one another in trying times.
“President Buhari needs all the prayers and goodwill that he can get at this time, to enable him return from his medical vacation in the UK and continue with his God-ordained assignment of steering Nigeria to her next level of greatness.
“Each of us go through times when we are not feeling in top form. The last thing we need in those times is mockery or ill will.”
The former vice president urged Nigerians to quit the rumour mongering and to instead, channel that energy in praying for God to strengthen President Buhari and his family through this time.