ECOWAS Parliament’s First Ordinary Session Opens; Liberia Fully Represented

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Left to right: Rep. Massaquoi, Sen. Johnson, Amb. Conteh. Rep. Snowe, Comm. Tulay of ECOWAS Commission, Rep. Siryon & Sen. Zargo during the opening session in Abuja, May 10, 2018

Abuja, Nigeria – The Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament on Thursday, May 10, 2018, commenced its First Ordinary Session for the year at the Parliament’s Seat in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Thursday’s opening session, the Liberian Delegation, led by Honorable Edwin M. Snowe, Jr. of Bomi County, was in full attendance.

The release says other members of the Liberian Delegation include its two new members, Senator Stephen J. H. Zargo and Representative Clarence K.M. Massaquoi, both of Lofa County.

Senator Zargo replaced His Excellency, George Manneh Weah, now President of the Republic of Liberia, and former Senator of Montserrado County. Representative Massaquoi also replaced Honorable Jefferson Karmoh, now Special Security Advisor to the President of the Republic of Liberia and former representative of Sinoe County.

Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County who is now the Third Deputy Speaker for the ECOWAS Parliament and Representative Hajah F. Siryon of Bomi County complete the list of the Liberian ECOWAS Parliamentarian Delegation, according to the release.

The Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria and also Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh, accompanied the Liberian lawmakers to the opening session of the ECOWAS Parliament on Thursday.

According to the release, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Honorable Mustapha Cisse Lo of Senegal, in his welcome remarks, paid special homage to the immediate past President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza of Benin for his “institutional and other reforms” that have enabled the Parliament to be more effective.

“He will remain our advisor and friend forever”, Speaker Cisse-Lo said of the former President of the ECOWAS Commission.

He used the occasion to welcome for the first time to the ECOWAS Parliament the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou of The Ivory Coast.

For his part, Mr. Brou commended the Speaker for conducting the agenda of the ECOWAS Parliament.

“Our model is unique and sets the pace for the African Continent”, he added.

The ongoing session runs from Thursday, 10th May to Wednesday, 30th May 2018.

The 21-day session is expected to feature the presentation on the ‘Status of the Community’ by the President of ECOWAS Commission, as provided for in the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament.

Amongst others will be the Strategic Plan which will be presented to Members of Parliament for considerations revolving around promotion of social and human development; promoting sound business environment; support and finance of infrastructure, industrialization, agriculture and the economy; improved implementation of the Community Levy; prudent resource management, to mention a few.

Other programs scheduled to feature in the session includes the traditional presentation of the Country Reports by each delegation of Member States, of progress made in the implementation of the Community Integration Agenda.

Furthermore, on the sidelines of the Session, there would also be a seminar on the theme: ‘Strengthening the Participation and Representation of ECOWAS Gender Policy in Democracy and Good Governance’, jointly organized by Parliament, the Social Affairs Department of the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA), in collaboration with Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and UN women.

The convening of the 2018 First Ordinary Session is in line with the stipulations of Article 27 of the Supplementary Act of the Parliament which provides that the ‘Parliament shall meet twice a year in Ordinary Session’.

One hundred and fifteen (115) members of Parliament from ECOWAS’ 15 Member States represent over 320 million people at the ECOWAS Parliament, the release concludes.

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