SPEECH BY SPEAKER of the ECOWAS Parliament, H.E. Moustapha Cisse Lo, at the 2nd EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF 5th LEGISLATURE

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September 16, 2019

Honorable Members Ladies and gentlemen Dear Participants We met today to officially open the September 2019 Special Session of the Parliament of our ECOWAS community.

This opening ceremony offers me the opportunity, on behalf of the Members of the ECOWAS Parliament and on my own behalf, to warmly thank the President of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Georges WEAH, his Government and the Liberian people for the warm and fraternal hospitality and say how much we are affected by the quality of the welcome that has been reserved for all delegations and the kindness we have been receiving since our arrival at Liberia.

I would particularly like to express my gratitude to His Excellency the President of the Republic for having accepted to take part, personally, in this opening ceremony. Mr President of the Republic, your presence is the best proof that you attach great importance to the essential role of Parliament. By accepting that your country hosts this special session of our Parliament, you reaffirm your commitment to building the West African community. Of course, we are not surprised by this particular attention because, as we all know, you, yourself, have been members of the ECOWAS Parliament. To you personally, Dear Brothers, Dr. Bhofal Chambers and Chief Dr. Jewel Cianeh Howard Taylor, respectively Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speaker of the Senate of Liberia, I would like to express my appreciation for your personal involvement in the organization of this meeting, especially for the excellent arrangements made for the smooth running of our work in Monrovia.

My thanks also go to our distinguished guests who make us the honor and the friendship to take part in this ceremony. Excellences, I would like to greet you with respect for your presence, testimony to your support for the community and your interest in its parliamentary institution. Mister President, Honorable Members, dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen, this extraordinary session, it must be remembered, is the fourth of its kind held outside Headquarters, after those of Lomé, in 2017, Dakar in February 2018 and Abidjan in September 2018. It is therefore the first ever in our Parliament. Liberian land since the adoption of the Additional Act to strengthen Parliament’s prerogatives and certainly the last of its kind in the Fourth Legislature. I would like to emphasize the importance of this Session, although it is provided for by the Additional Act on strengthening the prerogatives of the ECOWAS Parliament. It is for us to comply with our internal procedure leading to the adoption of Parliament’s budget. For this reason, the agenda of our Special Session focuses on: 1. the adoption of the draft Budget of our Parliament, fiscal year 2020; 2. the revision of Rule 13 of the Rules of Procedure of the Fourth Legislature of our Parliament, devoted to the Inaugural Session; In this respect, in accordance with our Rules of Procedure, we have set up an Ad Hoc Committee to prepare a preliminary draft of Parliament ‘s Budget, FY2020. With regard to the Budget Circular of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Mr. Jean Claude Kassi BROU, this Committee has prepared a preliminary draft of the Budget of 20,184,970 Unit of Account, balanced in revenue and expenses. The Report of the Adhoc Committee was transmitted and examined by the Bureau of Parliament at its last meeting, held here in Monrovia. Parliament’s competent committee, in particular the Administration, Finance and Budget Control Committee, after Parliament’s approval, will be seized of the dossier and will report to the plenary.

The ECOWAS Parliament, during this session, will work in accordance with its Rules of Procedure, to consider and adopt the said Draft Budget. It is therefore to this task that we will tackle this session.

This is an opportunity for each of us, honorable colleagues, to impose a rigorous discipline in order to scrutinize the draft Budget 2020 with meticulousness and objectivity. I remain convinced that we will be assiduous and punctual, so that the complete treatment of our agenda can be accomplished in good and fruitful conditions. Honorable Members Ladies and gentlemen Dear Participants At the time of our session, serious events are taking place on our continent and they should be given special attention because they constitute real threats and serious obstacles to the African integration that is so dear to us and for which we are committed.

Indeed, in South Africa we have been witnessing, for the past few weeks, a resurgence of xenophobic acts of extreme violence. These sad images of Africa, these painful events and the tensions they engender challenge us as elected representatives of our people. We are extremely concerned and strongly indignant.

On behalf of the ECOWAS Parliament, I would like to express our compassion for the victims and their families and firmly condemn these barbaric, untimely acts with disastrous humanitarian, socio-economic and diplomatic consequences. The root causes of this recurrent situation should be studied with a view to reaching a permanent solution. The ECOWAS Parliament calls on the South African authorities to assume their responsibility by guaranteeing all their foreign nationals the right to life, physical integrity and freedom of movement. We also call on all African States and the African Union to take diligent initiatives to restore peace and security and restore calm in South Africa and all other States.

In the same vein, the closure of Nigerian borders with Benin for more than a month and Niger, most recently, is a hindrance to the achievement of the Community’s main objective of “creating a prosperous West African region without borders, where there is peace and harmony … “.

This closure of borders is a threat to the implementation of the protocol on the free movement of persons at a time when it is necessary to step up our efforts to effectively remove barriers within the Community. The harmful effects of this measure are observed on both sides. The ECOWAS Parliament calls for compliance with Community provisions and calls for the reopening of borders and a coordinated fight against smuggling in the region.

Mister President, Ladies and gentlemen, Finally, I would like to emphasize how much more honored we are that this session is being held on the soil of an exceptional country, a precursor country because it is the first African nation to obtain its independence. first country of the continent to elect a woman to the presidency and the first country to bring a former high-level sportsman to the highest judiciary.

I thank you all for your presence and wish you every success. Thank you.