The ECOWAS Parliament, also known as the Community Parliament,is a forum for dialogue, consultation and consensus for representatives of the people of West Africa with the aim of promoting integration. It was established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993.
The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on 6th August, 1994 and entered into force in 14th March, 2002. It provides for the structure, composition, competence and other matters relating to the Parliament.
The Parliament is composed of 115 seats with each Stateguaranteed minimum of five seats. The remaining seats are shared on the basis of population.
Accordingly, the parliamentary seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity Conflicts in the region will run from Thursday, September 12 to Saturday, September 14, with issues geared towards promoting free movements across the sub-region topping the agenda.
Speaking to local media upon arrival at the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County, the Chairman on Judiciary at the ECOWAS Parliament, HalidouNaszirou, said the issue of free movement across the sub-region remains a stumbling blocks for citizens despite the many protocols on paper.
“Our people; the police men and security officers at the various border points are not going by what is on paper and we need to do something about this. The South African issue will be taken into serious consideration as well at this seminar. It will be discussed and we will take the information to the various heads of states,” said the Togolese Parliamentarian.
“We feel that everyone supported South Africa throughout its struggle to independence and with such of thing ongoing, we think there is need to have a dialogue around it. We need peace not just in the region, but across Africa and the world over, because we can’t do business without peace,” he added.
ReineSakanide, Chairperson on Gender at the ECOWAS Parliament, who hailed from Burkina Faso, indicated that the double meetings here in Liberia come with lots of opportunities, especially as some key Gender issues will be high on the agenda.
In remarks, the Head of the Liberian delegation at the ECOWAS Parliament, Bomi County Electoral District #2 Representative, Edwin Melvin Snowe, said the parliamentary seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity Conflicts in the region will be officially opened by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, while the 2nd Ordinary Session will be launched by President George MannehWeah.
According to the Bomi County lawmaker, the latter will be concluded with resolution on the recent xenophobic attack by South Africans on other peaceful citizens of the continent, especially Nigerians.
“In addition to the important discussions, the two meetings come with some economic benefits for the nation. This puts money in the economic and brings about visibility. And this is why all Liberians should put aside their political, ethnic or religious difference to portray a good picture for the country out there,” Rep. Snowe added.