Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr., Chairman of Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) said the creation of a framework for cooperation between the sub-regional parliamentary institutions is very important, especially since there are more and more challenges that can only be met through a comprehensive regional approach including the fight against terrorism, which will be the focus of the next meeting in Niamey.
Speaking on behalf of the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Rt. Honourable Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis at the exchanges and orientations on the organisation of the future major international parliamentary meeting on the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, Mr, Snowe noted that despite minor differences in the rules of procedures, the missions of all these Parliaments (ECOWAS Parliament, the IPC-UEMOA, and IPC-G5 Sahel) remain essentially the same, which to strengthen the legitimacy of the corresponding sub-regional organizations through representation of the populations of the member states.
it is in view of this that he commended the IPC-G5 Sahel for taking such an important step in the realization of inter-parliamentary cooperation on vital issues of regional and international interest.
According to him, it is of significant historical importance to note that at the beginning of the scourge of terrorism, four ECOWAS member States, including three members of the G5-Sahel, namely Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso were affected, today, the threat has spread to other countries, to include but not limited to Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.
“This negative dramatic development highlights the need to reflect deeply on the best approach to enable better coordination of actions and, above all, the rationalization of means to fight terrorism. Sub-regional parliaments can be the most appropriate framework to carry out this reflection and make meaningful proposals to regional executives”.
He reminded the sub-region that following the previous two High-Level Parliamentary Conferences first in Doha, and Rome, Italy on “Understanding the terrorist threat in Africa, under the auspices of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, the Niamey meeting is another opportunity for the ECOWAS Parliament to further examine the SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses of these issues and make additional informed contributions.
He said the meeting which would lay the foundation for Niamey meeting must focus on the
– legal framework of ECOWAS in the fight against terrorism and
– suggestions for achieving better results at the end of the Niamey meeting.
Mr. Snowe proposed the establishment of two committees, namely;
- Technical Committee and
- a Steering Committee, with the following responsibilities to ensure success at the Niamey meeting.
The Technical Committee (composed of technicians) should undertake a thorough study of the most relevant legal frameworks existing in the sub-region, both in the Member States and other sub-regional organizations, namely ECOWAS, G5-Sahel and UEMOA. The aim of this exercise is to enable regional MPs to debate these legislations and to better define the roles of parliaments in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
The Steering Committee (composed of MPs) will provide the necessary guidance, while ensuring that the activities of the meeting contribute to the achievement of the specific objectives of the Niamey meeting.
“To this end, we must consider the below to enable us deal with this very important subject for prompt action as time my friends…, is fast leaving us behind:
– The financial empire that feeds terrorism.
– The sources of supply of equipment used by terrorists (means of transport, communication and other logistics)
– The adequacy of legal frameworks at the level of States and sub-regional organizations.
– The contribution of parliaments to the initiation and adoption of specific counter-terrorism legislation.
– The framework for inter-parliamentary cooperation in monitoring the implementation of counter-terrorism legislation.
– The financing of the fight against terrorism and the role of parliaments in the appropriation of resources.
– The framework for cooperation between the G5-Sahel, ECOWAS and UEMOA in the fight against terrorism and the role of sub-regional parliaments in promoting this cooperation.
He also pledged that the ECOWAS Parliament will spare no effort to contribute to the success of the Niamey meeting.