Judges accused of taking over ECOWAS Court's relocation contracts

By Victoria Ojeme

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decried the growing global discriminatory rhetorics against Africa over the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, saying its poses a huge threat to the region’s economic recovery plans.

Speaking at the opening of the 47th ordinary session of the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS meeting in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of foreign affairs of Ghana and Chairperson of the Council, Shirley Ayokor Botchwey, said the current increasing activities of terrorists in the sub-region should be of concern to everyone.

She said the back drop of continued threat to the region could undermine ECOWAS integration agenda and regional stability as attacks by terrorists and violent extremist groups are increasing across the region leaving no member state spared as a potential target.

She said “The covid-19 pandemic has also added a new layer of complexity with growing cases of the new omicron variant and the possible new wave threatening social cohesion, the welfare of citizens and economic recovery. In addition to this already difficult situation is the military takeover in Guinea after the one in Mali weakening our community.

According to Botchewy, “The deteriorating security in the environment in the region is of grievous concern. From the sahel region through the lake chad basin and beyond, attacks from terrorists and violent extremists have moved with banditry, kidnapping, farmer herders and transnational organized crime leaving a trail of death and destruction.

 “Indeed the terrorists groups are currently testing border defences of coastal nations intending to extend their reach to member states along the gulf of Guinea,” she said.

“Amidst all these uncertainties, our community has continued to consolidate democracy in the region with the presidential and legislative elections in Cape Verde and the Gambia taking place. All those polls ended peacefully,” she added.

She observed that the military coups of Mali and Guinea remain a challenge to ECOWAS.

According to her, “This session will also, among other things, consider the draft revised Supplementary Protocol on democracy and good governance following the directive from our heads of state or the extraordinary Summit held on the 16th of September 2021. in Accra, to review the protocol.”

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“The objective is to strengthen democratic governance in our region. We will also be receiving updates on the regional humanitarian situation and the status of the operationalisation of the National Early Warning mechanism.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, members of the council, I’m confident that our accomplishments as a community and the challenges threatening our progress will inspire us to engage in lively deliberations and conclusions that will contribute greatly to pushing our communities’ integration agenda to new heights.“

She also commended the commission for “the efforts made to enhance security architecture as well as the democracy and good governance structures of the ECOWAS member states.”

Also speaking, Ambassador Musa Nuhu, Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, decried that the present threat of military interregnum in the sub-region could be linked to tenure elongation.

He revealed that one of the expectations from the meeting is solidifying some new provisions which have been introduced to ensure tenure limits.

He said: “Some new provisions have been introduced. We expect debate from the member countries because it has been inserted in the draft the issue of two term limits for heads of states as recommended by the experts, validated by the ministers and the ambassadors and then yesterday at the parliament. If the ministers decide to support what was presented to them, then it will be escalated to the level of the heads of states.”

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