President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to restoring democratic rule to Mali, Guinea and Burkina-Faso, and to ensure peace, and political stability in the West African Sub-region.
Mr Buhari made the pledge during the opening of the 2022 2nd Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), Parliament on Monday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria is committed to supporting ECOWAS institutions to ensure that the countries in the region are all returned to constitutional rule.
This is also as Mr Buhari pledged his commitment to ensure a free, fair and credible polls in the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
“Let me reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to ECOWAS efforts, with the support of our partners to keep the region peaceful, secure and politically stable.
“In this regard, Nigeria remains committed to supporting ECOWAS to restore democratic rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.
“We are convinced that the sustenance of democracy and the rule of law should remain the norm in this promising region.
“As you are aware, there will be multiple political activities in some ECOWAS member states, including Nigeria, where general elections are due to hold in February and March 2022.
“Let me seize this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to free, fair and transparent elections and smooth transitions. This is one legacy that I want my administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria, but to the region as a whole.
“At the regional level, Sierra Leone and Liberia are also preparing for elections. As in the past, Nigeria is ready to stand by any country in the region that is committed to organising free and fair elections,” the president said.
Mr Buhari also noted that the global economic downturn has deeply affected the economies of the sub-region and resulted in dire economic hardships for the citizens of the community.
He urged ECOWAS parliamentarians to perform their sacred responsibility of considering the Community budget with diligence, while bearing in mind the sacrifice of various countries in the payment of Community Levy.
He also tasked them to remain conscious of the many challenges besieging the region and be sensitive to the needs of the people.
Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Head of State and Government, and President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, decried the unconstitutional takeover of government in the region.
Mr Embalo expressed ECOWAS commitment and determination to ensure that constitutional order is restored in Burkina Faso, Guinea and others, still under the control of the military junta.
He also noted that there is a need to expand the economy of the region to create more wealth for community members.
Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, at the session, otherwise known as the “Budget Session”, mandated the Parliament, in accordance with its Supplementary Act, to consider the Consolidated Community Budget.
Mr Tunis said members of the parliament have been tasked to ensure that the budget is directed towards programmes that address the needs, aspirations and interest of the people they represent.
“In discharging this all-important assignment, let us bear in mind the challenges we face from urgent and looming crises in our Community.
“We must summon the will, courage and commitment to act in ways that will impact positively on our region.
“Permit me to state that as a region, we are confronted with unending chaos and crises, which are threatening the gains we have made in the recent past,” Mr Tunis said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one of the focus of the 2022 2nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament is on the ECOWAS Community Budget 2023 dubbed “The Budget of Consolidation and Reforms.”
The budget will be focused on four strategic objectives: Enhanced Peace and Security, Deeper Regional Integration, Good Governance, Inclusive and Sustained Development.
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