The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has called for stronger regional security to prevent coups d’état in the sub-region.
The call came at the close of a delocalized meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament Joint Committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and the African Peer Review Mechanism, Judicial Affairs and Human rights, Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment, held in Monrovia, Liberia from July 25 to July 28.
The meeting was held in the wake of a recent coup in Niger, as well as other coups in the region in recent years.
The draft report presented at the end of the meeting called on the ECOWAS Commission to work hard to strengthen collective regional security operations in collaboration with the African Union and key partners.
It also urged the ECOWAS Commission to continue to intensify dialogue with the transitional authorities in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso, and to develop mechanisms to enable the ECOWAS Parliament to be proactive in conflict prevention and management.
The report also called on member states to centralize military commands to avoid the formation of elite military units or parallel military forces whose command and control is outside a unified command structure.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Sen. Edwin Snowe, Leader of the Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament, lamented the backslide in democratic rule in the sub-region, describing it as a shame on the region’s democracy which must be stopped.
Snowe expressed hope and optimism in the leadership of President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, who is Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States, to intervene in the recent coup in the Republic of Niger.
“It is actually a shame on our region, and we hope that we will find a way to stop this,” Snowe said. “Because backsliding from democracy, gone are the days when we had the Samuel Doe, Jerry Rawling, Yahaya Jameh, Abacha’s. Gone are those days”.
“We have made significant progress in our drive to democracy so to see us going back to where we come from it is a shame and I hope that something will be done in a faster manner for us to correct the situation.”
Snowe said that the coup in Niger was a “big test” for Nigeria and the leadership of President Tinubu, and that he was confident that Tinubu would take “drastic measures” to correct the situation.
“This time around, ECOWAS will not be a sleeping bulldog,” Snowe said. “I believe in the leadership of President Tinubu and I am sure he will make a difference.”
The draft report of the ECOWAS Parliament Joint Committees is due to be adopted by plenary at the next session of the Parliament.