International Women’s Day : ECOWAS Parliament okays legislation on women representation

 By John Okeke

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament is intensifying efforts to come up with a legislation that will make women representation binding on its members.

The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Mr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis disclosed this on Monday during an interaction with the press on the occassion of World Women’ Day .

Tunis was of the opinion that with support for women participation in politics, it will not be long before a woman gets to the top.

He said, “It is very likely, with the trend that we are pushing now, it is very likely that before the end of this legislation we should come out with a legislation that will make it binding. It is a commitment I can make

“In the first place, ECOWAS Parliament has been very much supportive of the affirmative action in ensuring that there is minimum 30 per cent quota of female representation in the ECOWAS Parliament.

“Unfortunately, I understand people did not know about it. Some institutions did not know about it. We did not have that especially with the Nigerian delegation. You find out that in most delegations for the ECOWAS Parliament we have for example in Sierra Leone where all the delegations came with a female Member of Parliament, that goes for Sierra Leone, Ghana, all of these places to ensure that we try to get a minimum thirty percent.

“Some of them even came in with two where you have some five members who came in with two female members of parliament. But unfortunately for us where a country like Nigeria which have five members only came in with two.

“It is unfortunate that they did not know that it was a requirement in ECOWAS Parliament. I tried to talk to the Secretary General to talk them but it was already late, they had already passed it at both the lower and upper house.

“But I believe that we try as much as possible to give full support to our female members, especially as they have their Association, ECOFEPA, we provide funding for them to ensure that they carry out their programmes. Because for us at the ECOWAS Parliament, we strongly believe that giving support to women across the region will go a long way in ensuring that we also bring about development in peace.

“You know women are very good when it comes to peace and that is one of the reasons we support them a lot.”

Citing  the Niger issue case , he said  ” it was just by a stroke of luck. I have two female members from Niger Republic because for the position of third speaker. There was a very serious competition for the position of a third deputy speaker. So yes there is hope and as we continue to give support to women, as we continue to encourage women to participate in politics, I believe there is hope indeed and we would have, you never know in the sixth legislature a woman to serve as speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.”

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