The highest decision-making body of the ECOWAS adopted and signed the Supplementary Act into law at the 46th Ordinary Session of the authority thereby granting the ECOWAS Parliament a co-decision making status with the ECOWAS Council of Ministers.
Reacting to the development, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, hailed the Supplementary Act as a “monumental breakthrough for the Community Parliament and the entire West African sub-region.”
Senator Ekweremadu, who is also the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate said: “For me and the entire ECOWAS Parliament, this is indeed a pleasant dream come through. It is a major breakthrough for the Community Parliament, democracy, good governance, accelerated integration, peace and development in the entire sub-region.”
It could be recalled that although the ECOWAS Parliament was founded in the year 2000, it remained an advisory body until the adoption and signing into law of this Supplementary Act yesterday.
However, by the provisions of the Supplementary Act on the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Community Parliament, in line with its co-decision making status, will now play greater role in the sub-regional body.
Itemising the new competencies of the Parliament under the Supplementary Act, excerpts of Chapter 2 of the of the Legislation state: “The Parliament shall jointly with council approve the community budget.
“The parliament shall also exercise parliamentary oversight functions over the activities of the institutions and organs of the community, as laid down in this supplementary act without prejudice to Article 15 of the Revised Treaty.
“The parliament shall confirm the appointment of statutory officers of the community with the exception of statutory officers appointed directly by the authority.
“In conformity with Article 9 of this Supplementary Act, the parliament may consider any matter concerning the community without prejudice to Article 15 of the treaty”.
It further empowers the ECOWAS Parliament to “investigate or mediate any alleged violation Human Rights and may take any necessary measures to advocate and promote respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, without prejudice to Article 15 of the treaty.”