ECOWAS Parliament opens session in Abuja

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The ECOWAS Community Parliament opened its first ordinary session for 2002 in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja Tuesday evening, with the Speaker  calling for greater support from leaders for the sub-regional legislature.
"The Parliament requires the support of the heads of State of the sub-region to be able to armfully render its services to the peoples of the region," said Speaker Ali Nouhoun Diallo from Mali.
He said the Parliament was reconvening for the year with most of the 15 member States in arrears of financial contributions.
So far, only Mali had paid its contributions to the Parliament for the year, while Togo, Nigeria and two other member countries had paid up in full for 2001.
The Speaker said the challenges facing the body had grown since its last session, especially with the evolution of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
He said the place of the Parliament in the realisation of the objectives of NEPAD cannot be overstated, since it is a programme that required the support of the people to succeed.
Diallo commended the wave of democratisation blowing across the sub-region with the peaceful and satisfactory conduct of presidential and general elections in Sierra Leone and Mali.
But he expressed concern at the continued crisis in Liberia, in spite of efforts by leaders of the Mano River Unon, which groups Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
He said the outbreak of hostilities in that member country had therefore placed before the Parliament added challenges to help find a permanent solution to the crisis.
The current session of the Parliament will last three weeks, during which it will discuss the management of resources in the sub-region, the problems of energy, transportation as well as the challenges of managing two new monetary zones in the sub-region.
The session will also discuss the issues of residency and right of free movement of goods.
"We will also consider ways to fight corruption and fraud and the observance of elections and the management of funds to ensure transparency and good governance," the Speaker said.

29 may 2002 16:52:00

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