President John Mahama
President John Mahama
President John Mahama
President John Mahama

The ECOWAS Chairman,who also doubles as Ghana’s president,?Mr John Mahama, on Monday called for the enhancement of powers of the ECOWAS parliament for the economic benefit of the West African region.

He made the call at the opening ceremony of the 2014 first ordinary session of the third legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

Represented by the Vice President of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Attah, Mahama noted that the statutory rule of consultation and advice had been discharged with outmost diligence and commitment.

He also commended efforts by the Nigerian government toward the realisation of the new office complex.

“We are grateful for the usual commitment and dedication of the people of Nigeria toward the ECOWAS community.

“The provisions of facilities of the ECOWAS parliament in this building are clear demonstrations that the government is ready and willing to create an enabling atmosphere for business of the parliament.

“This will facilitate the work of the regional parliaments,?? the ECOWAS Chairman noted.

Mahama challenged the ECOWAS parliament to do everything to facilitate trade, adding that ?progress could only be made in the region when trade was promoted.

He condemned the abduction of more than 200 Chibok girls in Borno which, he said, created a global concern.

“Destabilisation of Nigeria leads to destabilisation of the entire region.

“For the future of our region, we need to ensure and maintain safe education for our children so that our people can be fully equipped successfully with the rest of the world,?? Mahama said.

He, therefore, urged West Africans to rally together as Nigeria was making efforts to bring back the girls safely.

The chairman said that at ECOWAS level, action had been initiated by invoking the relevant sections of counter terrorism.

”ECOWAS is monitoring closely and is ready to provide support to the Nigerian government,” he added.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the refurbished chambers of ECOWAS the parliament, the Speaker, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, commended the modernisation of the chamber.

He also commended the Federal Government for awarding N3.4 billion contract to Julius Berger for the renovation of the parliament.

Ekweremadu said that these gestures would not only serve as morale booster for the ECOWAS Parliament but also cater for the expected higher legislative activities.

“With the modernisation of the chambers, honourable members can now speak from their seats and vote electronically.

“I can confidently say that we now have a befitting state-of-the-art parliamentary complex,?? the speaker said.

He said that the major works done included re-roofing of the complex, rehabilitation and upgrading of the main and mini auditoriums, and the provision of private lounge for the speaker.

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