Sunday 15 September 2013

Speakers of W’African parliament seek common front against terrorism - The NATION

The issue of terrorism dominated discussion at the ongoing Conference of Speakers of West African Parliaments (CSWAP).

The conference is pushing for a common front to tackle the challenges of terrorism and small arms proliferation.

Besides, the conference is also seeking more powers to be able to contribute meaningfully to the overall socio-economic integration process in the sub-region.

Senate President, David Mark, who addressed the conference, set the tone as he pointed out that the region is confronted with home-grown terrorism and insurgency of immense proportion.

He stressed that “these dastardly acts are committed right on our soil and by our own citizens; our own brothers and sisters. The nature of terrorism is such that it is difficult for us to point out where it originates and where it terminates. Put differently, terrorists and insurgents know no borders. They move in and out of countries at will. Their main consideration is to get the right environment to operate and their common enemies are the people of goodwill.”

Mark said it was necessary for the parliament in the sub region to collaborate and find a common front in addressing terrorism and other vices, which have taken our societies backwards by several centuries.

While commending the efforts of the executive in establishing such multi-lateral structures, both within our sub-region and beyond, he said legislature must not be left out.

“I truly believe that our support is critical in getting the ECOWAS decision makers understand the need to follow the path of current global best practices in getting our sub-regional parliament attain law making status,” he advocated.

He also urged the group to address three other critical issues of high turnover of legislators as well as the quality of legislations; the quality of supporting legislative aides and staff; and the financial autonomy of parliament.

These, if tackled expediently, I believe will improve the standard of our Parliaments and therefore strengthen our democracies.”

Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, was particular about enhancement of the powers of the parliament, so as to be able to contribute effectively to the numerous challenges facing the region.

He also stressed the need for coordinated policies to fight terrorism.

“Our national parliaments must synergise to initiate, facilitate, and coordinate policies and legal regimes that fight insecurity, terrorism, separatism, bad governance, poverty, underdevelopment, and other ills that blight our international rating.

“On insecurity in particular, I continue to emphasise that the insecurity of the part is the insecurity of the whole. We must be united, determined, and spirited in our stand and fight against terrorism and violent crimes. Our stand here must be total and defy all socio-political and religious affiliations. Terrorism must not find any foothold anywhere in the sub-region because it is anti-peace, anti-development, disreputable, and cancerous.

“The transmutation of the ECOWAS Parliament from an advisory institution to a full legislative institution is very central to its ability to contribute meaningfully to the overall socio-economic integration process in the sub-region.”



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