Saraki Tasks ECOWAS Parliament On Poverty Reduction, Conflicts | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Saraki Tasks ECOWAS Parliament On Poverty Reduction, Conflicts

Posted: Sep 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)







Senator Bukola Saraki, President of Nigerian Senate, has tasked ECOWAS Parliament to deliberate and enact legislation aimed at reducing high poverty rate and violent conflicts in some member countries of Economic Community of West African States.

Saraki who gave the task on Thursday at the second 2016 Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, said over 70 per cent of the West African population live below the poverty line of $1 per day.

He noted that ending violent conflicts and reducing poverty in West Africa remains one of the main challenges hindering the progress of the sub-region.

The President of the Senate represented by Yusuf Lasun, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, said civil unrest and grievances which are recipes for violent conflicts have become widespread in the region.

He said, “These agitations sometimes take violent forms and are seen as channels for punishing governments for their failure to alleviate poverty.

“We can through our collective experience from different backgrounds and nations champion various causes that will encourage and improve the quality of life for the citizens of West Africa.”

Saraki further expressed worries on the increasing proliferation of small arms and light weapons in West Africa, adding that about 77,000 of the small arms are allegedly within the control of West African insurgent groups.

He said, “Small arms proliferation has contributed to the mobilisation for coup d’état, undemocratic overthrow of governments, the rise of militant groups, increasing causalities and violent inter-communal and intra-state conflicts in West Africa.

“Mitigating this ugly trend must form a vital part in our plenary because without a peaceful environment, there cannot be development.”

Also speaking, Sheku Badara  Dumbuya, the Speaker of the Sierra Leonean Parliament, called on the leadership of the ECOWAS Parliament to spare no efforts in making the ECOWAS parliament a veritable parliament worthy of what the word, “Parliament” denotes and connotes.

Dumbuya argued that a parliament that only advises or only exists to be consulted ceases to be a parliament in the traditional sense of the word.

He said, “Parliament is principally about legislating. The functions of oversight and representation, which are ancillary to its meaning, are performed only after legislation.

“It follows therefore, that a parliament which is only advisory or consultative in its functions is for all practical purposes not a parliament.

“As long as ECOWAS Parliament continues to serve only as an advisory or consultative body, it is virtually nothing pertinent for a real legislature.

“In other words, unless the ECOWAS Parliament is vested with full legislative powers, it would be a misnomer to refer to it as a parliament.”