Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Absent as ECOWAS Parliament Begins to Sit in Kano

•To elect new speaker at extraordinary session

Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Ahmad Sorondinki in Kano

No fewer than 12 of the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), are currently attending the sixth legislature of Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the ancient city of Kano.

The meeting is expected to discuss member states’ socio-economic, political, security and other challenges bedeviling the sub-region.

The meeting attracted parliamentarians from Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cape Verde, Cote D’ Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Republic Togo.

But those absent from the meeting which started yesterday included Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and Mali, who pull out their membership of the ECOWAS

In an interview with journalists at the venue of the meeting, the First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Barau Jibrin, said yesterday’s engagement was like bureau meetings between the leadership of the Parliament and the committee chairmen, including other principal officers of the Parliament.

According to him, “tomorrow (today, Tuesday) is going to be the session that will implore all the parliamentarians, and of course, the invited guest that will be here with us.

“Tuesday will be a session for all the parliamentarians, and VIPs are going to be invited to witness the session. It is going to be a general meeting.”

Jibrin, who is also Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, added that representatives from Togo, who did not participate in the previous meeting were expected to show their presence atthe Kano meeting.

“Representatives from Togo were not there in the previous meeting because there were no elections in that country then, but now elections have taken place and we are expecting them to be around within the period we are going to have this event; and they will hopefully be sworn in on Thursday.

“It is the entire Assembly that has been brought here; and in the Assembly, we do not have any kind of restrictions. When we have a Parliament, everything concerning the entire ECOWAS Community will be discussed.

“When you have a parliament, even if you have an agenda, you still have a room for everybody to bring forward whatever he feels that should be discussed.

“So, it is an open-session for Parliament, and we do not have restrictions. Everything about the society, about the economy, about ECOWAS, about the west African sub-region can be discussed. So, it is an open-ended kind of a scope in respect of what is going to be discussed.

“We are holding the meeting here in Kano to bring the Parliament closer to the people. That is why we are here in Kano. This is the first time that you have this kind of meetings and sessions of ECOWAS Parliaments taking place here.

“It is in line with what we have said. We are here so that Kano will know ECOWAS Parliament, and ECOWAS parliament will know Kano.

“Kano is the Centre of Commerce of the entire northern Nigeria. It is the political capital, if you like, call Kano the political nerve centre of the entire northern Nigeria.

“So, that is why we brought this session to hold here so that we bring ECOWAS closer to the people, so that people will know ECOWAS parliament and ECOWAS parliament will go deeper into our various societies,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Parliament is expected to elect a substantive new speaker at its 2024 second extraordinary session.

Barau has been acting as the speaker since the inauguration of the 6th Parliament on April 4, 2024, pending the election into Togolese Parliament which was recently done.

The position of speakership of the regional parliament was Togo’s to fill and the delegation from the country is expected in Kano to pick up the baton.

Preparatory to the Extra Ordinary Session, the Community Parliament had its Bureau meeting which was virtual and Conference of Bureau meeting which is made up of chairpersons and rapporteur of various committees, where they discussed the work plan for the year and which will be brought to the plenary for discussion and adoption.

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