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Barau, ECOWAS speaker, proposes mediation committe on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

Barau, ECOWAS speaker, proposes mediation committe on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

Barau Jibrin, the acting Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament), has called for strong collaboration between the community parliament and other ECOWAS institutions to promote democracy, strengthen security and advance development in the West African sub-region.

Barau made the call at the opening of 2024 Second Extraordinary Session of the 6th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament held in Kano, North West Nigeria.

The ceremony was attended by the Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Bichi, Nasiru Ado Bayero, the Emir Karaye, Ibrahim Abubakar II and Emir of Gaya, Aliyu Ibrahim, among others.

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He reiterated that the Parliament is open to deliberations on all critical issues affecting the entire sub-region with a view to proffering recommendations that will further unite and bond the peoples of the community.

He also advanced the cause for the independence of the community parliament to facilitate its oversight function and help strengthen democracy and good governance among member States.

“There is a compelling need to build strong collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and undertake joint initiatives aimed at strengthening regional security and advancing development. While it is true that each institution has its unique prerogative, the fact remains that there exist cross-cutting issues that are best addressed with enhanced collaboration among the community institutions.

“As the Parliament looks towards facilitating the promotion of democracy, checks and balances, as well as accountability in the ECOWAS Community, having a strong ECOWAS Parliament is indispensable. I have had the esteemed honour of leading this Parliament for barely two months and I have concluded that much needs to be done in terms of asserting the independence of the Parliament in the exercise of its important roles of parliamentary oversight and representation.

“There is also a compelling need to build strong collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and undertake joint initiatives aimed at strengthening regional security and advancing development. While it is true that each institution has its unique prerogative, the fact remains that there exist cross-cutting issues that are best addressed with enhanced collaboration among the community institutions,” he said.

The acting Speaker, who is also the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, further said the Parliament is equally resolved to forestall the disintegration of ECOWAS over the departure of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali from the regional bloc.

He added that the prevalence of light weapons and non-state actors bent on illegal exploitation of resources and destabilisation of order and governance in the subregion will also be adequately addressed by the parliament.

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“You may recall that in his address at the Inaugural Session, the President of the ECOWAS Commission made the clarion call for Parliament’s urgent intervention in addressing pressing issues in the Community. He noted the urgency of joining ongoing efforts aimed at avoiding the disintegration of the regional bloc, which could happen with the departure of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. He also emphasised the need to confront non-state groups competing for control of our resources and pushing states to the margins. These have led to unprecedented levels of insecurity, especially in the Sahel, where armed groups, violent extremists and criminal groups are operating and causing immense suffering for our citizens.

“We must heed that call with all seriousness and be intentional about playing our roles for the millions of citizens impacted by these conflicts. Against this backdrop, I will, in consultation with my colleagues in the Bureau, be proposing the appointment of an Ad hoc Mediation Committee whose mandate will be to work with all stakeholders in getting our brothers to rescind their decision and come home and work towards promoting dialogue with a view to resolving conflicts in the region,” he said.