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Buhari charges ECOWAS to complete ongoing reforms

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the new management team at the ECOWAS Commission, led by Dr Omar Alieu Toure, to complete the review and harmonisation of ongoing reforms aimed at strengthening the sub-regional body.

President Buhari was speaking in Abuja at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

“The Commission must, therefore, work assiduously to complete the review and harmonisation of the Protocols on Good Governance and Democracy, as this would enable our sub-region to sustain our collective efforts to deepen not only Democracy but her dividends through good governance to the Community citizens.

“Related to this is the urgent need to fully bring into operation, the Regional Action Plan on the Fight Against Terrorism and other acts of criminality in the sub- region as enhanced safety will sustain national governance efforts that would ensure the growth and progress of our sub- region,” the President said.

President Buhari noted that this year’s Summit was the 8th that Nigeria, under his leadership, had hosted:

All of those occasions, including this one, have brought honour and respect to my country as Nigeria continues to be at the centre of sustained solidarity and collaborative efforts to maximise our relationships in order to address common challenges to our countries and the Community’s citizens.”

He paid tribute to President Kuffour Addo-Nana of Ghana, the recent predecessor of the Authority for his services, and congratulated President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau on assuming the leadership of the sub-regional organisation.

The President expressed confidence in the new leader’s ability to discharge his responsibilities to the sub-region to meet the expectations of the Community’s citizens.

President Buhari thanked his colleagues for the support he received as the Regional Champion on Covid-19 at a time the pandemic ravaged the entire world, ascribing the successes recorded in the region to their co-operation.

He however lamented that despite the efforts of ECOWAS leaders towards deepening democracy, the region had suffered some unpleasant setbacks:

Earlier at the official ground-breaking ceremony of the new ECOWAS headquarters building, President Buhari expressed appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, for their financial and technical contribution to ensuring that the monument was built on behalf of ECOWAS.

The building, to be named the EYE OF WEST AFRICA, with an expected completion period of Twenty-Six months, will accommodate the ECOWAS Commission, the Community Court of Justice, and the Parliament.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, had said sponsoring and constructing the new headquarters was a vivid reflection of ChiECOWASna’s support to the work of ECOWAS, as well as the traditional friendship between China and West African countries.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello, Editing by Omotola Oguneye