By John Okeke
The Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament made significant progress in its legislative duties with the adoption of the Supplementary Act enhancing its powers.
The Secretary General of the ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. John Azumah stated this while presenting a report on the Activities of the 4th Legislature at the Evaluation Seminar of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Banjul, Gambia.
The Supplementary Act was adopted at the Fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and government in Abuja, Nigeria on 17 December, 2016.
The Heads of State adopted the Supplementary Act on the enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS Parliament to enable the Parliament to perform the traditional roles of a Parliament.
The Supplementary Act also empowers the Community Parliament to have mandatory referrals on a number of Community policies and programmes and also give assent or opinion on matters referred to it.
Mr. Azumah elaborating on how the Supplementary Act improved the legislative functions of the community parliament, in an interview with journalists at the end of the seminar, explained that with the adoption of the Supplementary Act, the Parliament was able to carry out its oversight function over community institutions.
“For the first time, springing from the Supplementary Act, the parliament was able to undertake oversight roles over community institutions; these are things that are stated very clearly in the Supplementary Act.”
“We couldn’t have done that without the Supplementary Act, once the Supplementary Act was signed for us we hit the ground running and then we undertook some oversight responsibilities.”
‘’The Fifth Legislature will now sit down and then strategize as to how to undertake oversight, oversight is the key function of any parliament and for that matter we need to strategize on how to undertake it for the benefit of our community.”
Mr. Azumah said the fourth legislature also took steps to curbing illegal migration of youths from the region.
“Migration we looked at it as a topical issue and we took it and went up to the point where the people cross, that is Agadez, and we held a forum on that, and we are going to continue with that.”
“The Fifth Legislature is going to continue, so that we come together to proffer solution, however difficult it may be, and advice the Heads of State, that’s the modest we can do to stem the tide, that also was something the fourth legislature started and the fifth legislature will continue.”
Highlighting other achievements of the Fourth Legislature, Mr. Azumah said the community parliament’s intervention doused political tension in the Parliament in Sierra Leone.
On insecurity, the Secretary General of the regional parliament disclosed that the fourth legislature vehemently condemned all forms of terrorist’s attacks within the region.
“We have always sent delegation to go to the ground and to come up with certain recommendations that we can advise our Heads of State.”
“We have always stood firmly by the people and condemned these attacks”.
Mr. Azumah said the fourth legislature organised a lot of delocalize meetings and embarked on border visits to interact with the people in a bid to promote peace in the region.
On Single Currency, the Secretary General said the Fifth Legislature will collaborate with other relevant stakeholders to ensure the actualization of the single currency for the region which he noted was key for the region’s economic integration.
Mr. Azumah said there will be a proposal for the annual evaluation of the parliamentary activities of the Fifth Legislature.
The Mid-Term Evaluation Report of the Programmes of the Fourth Legislature was also presented at the Parliamentary Seminar.
Meanwhile, the last Extraordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature will commence on Monday January 27, 2020 in Banjul, Gambia.
The Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament was inaugurated on February fourth 2016.
The Fifth Legislature will be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2020.