Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament has reiterated its commitment towards finding a lasting solution to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers, whichhave claimed many lives and impacted negatively on the economy of the region.
The Secretary General of ECOWAS Parliament, John Azumah, who reaffirmed the position of the parliament, said as representatives of the people, they were burdened by the frequent herders and farmers’ clashes and other reports of communal violence within the community.
Azumah, who spoke in an interview with journalists at the end of the Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, held in Dakar, Senegal, said: “The Parliament has a very big role especially the members who have the opportunity to meet with the concerned communities and to be able to explain the other side of the story.”
“So, if the members of parliament up their game and constantly provide information- they constantly meet these communities that are involved in these activities and we believe strongly that we will be able to sort or mitigate the tendencies,” he said.
Azumah observed that the parliament, as a body, has built overtime experiences in conflict resolution as it has been involved in resolving conflict areas such as the Mano River Union in 2012, the resolution of the Liberian civil war, and the issue of Al- Qaeda in Mali, adding that the parliament was the only community institution that was on ground to talk to the people.
He recalled that the parliament was only last year involved in resolving the Sierra Leonean issues occasioned by election disagreements.
According to Azumah, all the parliament need to do is to agree on a broad framework of how to go about the issue and engage all parties in a roundtable and make them understand the need to cease hostilities.
He further said: “We believe strongly that when we start, we will be able to get the necessary information and proffer solutions. What the parliament does is to make recommendations to the authorities, the implementing bodies, for them to look into the matter and resolve the issue.”
Earlier, he stated that the major highpoint of the seminar was parliament’s confirmation of their support for the decision of the Authority of Heads State and Government in the implementation of the Single Currency in 2020.
“We are asking them to be very firm and resolute on the date, that the date should not be changed, as you may know, it has been changed severally and we think that they should be firm; there should be a political will that it should be done in 2020 and then for that matter, implemented,” he said.
He, however, observed that the lawmakers were constrained in what they can do because of the limited resources available to them, adding that same problem affects all other ECOWAS institutions.