President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has charged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament to, as a matter of urgency, seeks ways of addressing the prevalence of terrorism and irregular migration affecting member states.
This was just as he bemoaned the spate of insecurity and cross-border crimes such as banditry and kidnapping, which, according to him, are severe threats to the stability and economic progress of most countries within the West African sub-region.
Lawan gave the charge on Thursday in a speech delivered during the 2021 First Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament.
The Senate President identified insurgency, drug trafficking, and ceaseless ethno-religious struggles as problems that continue to interfere with the freedom of citizens to move between member nations as guaranteed under the ECOWAS protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods.
He, therefore, called on ECOWAS Parliamentarians to seek out interventions aimed at tackling the lingering problems which are predominant features among member states.
Lawan added that doing so would ensure regional economic growth, besides tackling unemployment and stimulating economic multipliers within the sub-region.
He said: “While the ECOWAS protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods remains a prized policy, for instance; insecurity, instability, and conflicts are matters requiring continuous attention.
“The freedom to move between member nations is helpful to sub-regional economic growth, besides increasing the attendant benefits like job creation, reduction in underemployment, stimulation of economic multipliers, and better wellbeing.
“This can hardly happen in an atmosphere of strife, cross-border crimes like banditry, insurgency, drug trafficking, and ceaseless ethno-religious struggles, amidst others.
“As parliamentarians, we must examine the dimensions associated with these occurrences towards appropriate interventions.
“An accord of purpose between member nations creates the needed synergy for the actualization of uniform visions.
“The fostering of this uniformity partly rests with us and I am confident we can accomplish this, despite the limitations of institutional empowerment.
“It is possible through consistent advocacy, and the broadening of understanding on our objectives.”
Lawan added: “For emphasis, this First Ordinary Session for the year 2021 is also projected to help us chart ways forward in the months ahead, particularly in engendering cohesion in eliminating terrorism, all forms of extremism, and the better implementation of trade agreements and protocols.
“Added to these are the need to focus on irregular migration, often leading to needless sorrows, pains, and deaths; the fight against diseases, drought, and the requirement to entrench transparency and accountability in our governance systems.
“I am additionally assured that we are well prepared to make our inputs from our individual appreciation of the issues, towards finding lasting solutions to the challenges.”
Among those present at the 2021 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament are the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis; President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Dr. Jewel Cianeh Taylor; and President of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Honourable Justice Edward Amoako Asante.
Niger coup pressures food markets in West Africa – World Bank
The World Bank says the coup d’état in Niger may put additional pressure on Nigeria and other West African nations’ food markets.
According to the global bank, “The Nigerien coup d’état puts an additional seven million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity in the region against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices, and severe food insecurity already affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season.”
In its September ‘Food Security Update’, the bank stated that the coup d’état in Niger might put additional pressure on West African food markets.
The Washington-based bank stated that food prices increased by up to 21 per cent in August in Niger owing to the economic and financial sanctions the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union imposed on the country.
It noted that as a result, it limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.
It stated that with the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance programme, continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme remains essential, as access restrictions are hindering delivery of aid.
The report observed that FAO expects that shortages of seeds and feed and high fertilizer costs would affect the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season.
According to the Bank, Western and Central Africa were facing persistent food crises, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance in the region rising from around 10.7 million in 2019, 29 million in 2021, to more than 40 million in 2022 and 2023.
The Bank said that between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse.
It added that the main factors affecting food security are civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement, climatic shocks, political instability, adding that the war in Ukraine have increased the volatility of prices for foodstuffs and other commodities and caused widespread inflation as current food prices remain higher than during the same period last year.
Tinubu Meets With Biden, Others At UNGA
President Bola Tinubu is expected to hold bilateral talks as well as some business meetings with the US President, Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The President, who will depart Abuja to attend the UNGA in New Yew on Sunday will also hold talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Lula Silva among other world leaders.
This was disclosed on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, while briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa Abuja ahead of the president’s departure to New York.
Ngelale explained that that President Tinubu will meet with major Chief Executives and leaders of multinational firms cutting across multiple sectors of the economy including the President of Microsoft company worldwide, Brad Smith to deepen digital transformation in the country.
President is also expected to meet with the President of Global Affairs for Meta Technologies, Sir Nick Clegg, for a conversation on how to leverage new innovations, such as artificial intelligence and certain other applications to impact the way business is done in Nigeria.
He will meet with the global CEO of General Electric, the global CEO of Exxon Mobil Oil and Gas Company among others.
According to Ngelale, the President will be advancing his economic development diplomatic drive to aggressively attract foreign direct investment into the country.
Speaking further, the Presidential spokesman stated that President Tinubu will be participating in the Africa Global Business Initiative, adding that the President is focusing on attracting foreign direct investment, more jobs and new tax revenues into Nigeria.
He also said the President also wants to ensure that homegrown Nigerian companies have fair and equal access to foreign and international markets.
G77 Summit: International Cooperation Needed To Resolve Global Challenges – Shettima
Vice President Kashim Shettima has emphasized the need for cooperation among world leaders in order to maximize opportunities of resolving the challenges facing the world.
According to a statement by the Director Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, Shettima said this Friday in his address to world leaders at the ongoing G77+China Leaders’ Summit at the Palace Convention Havana, Cuba.
“We must always remember that cooperation is our compass and the most realistic path towards maximizing the opportunities and resolving challenges before us”, says Vice President Sen. Kashim Shettima.
￼Vice President Shettima alongside other world leaders at the 2023 G77 Summit in Cuba. Twitter/@officialSKSM
Speaking to an assembly of Heads of State and Government, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres and delegates from over 100 countries from the global South, the Vice President emphasized the need to be focussed leveraging cooperation or partnership for finding realistic solutions to global challenges.
“We must not allow geopolitical tensions in any corner of the world to deter us from forging a collective and mutually advantageous path forward – a roadmap of shared prosperity and progress, he advised.
The Vice President expressed Nigeria’s commitment to tow the path of partnership with member-States of the G77+China towards addressing global challenges.
He said, “Allow me to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to partnering with our fellow member nations of the G77 and China.”
“We shall champion initiatives that harness the potential of science, technology, and innovation to confront economic challenges, particularly within the global south.”, he pledged.
Speaking to the theme: “Current Development Challenges: The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation,” the Vice President underscored the prominent role which science, technology and innovation have always played in resolving challenges from the past to the present.”
Delivering his speech titled: “From Pandemic to Paradigm Shift: Nigeria’s Road to Reinvention” Vice President Shettima said “throughout history, science and technology have shaped the course of nations. The phases of the Industrial Revolution, from the first to the fourth, and from mechanization to automation, have determined the prosperity of those nations.”
Continuing, he observed that “it is crucial to acknowledge that the developing world found itself at a disadvantage in the earliest phases of these transformations, struggling to compete fairly as these revolutions swept across the globe.”
The Vice President told his audience that Nigeria is contributing its own share in leveraging science, technology and innovation to resolving challenges such as Covid-19 and the climate crisis.
He explained that Nigeria “understand that the key to advancing innovation in science and technology lies in fostering a vibrant knowledge economy and facilitating the unrestricted exchange of ideas.
This the Vice President said is the reason why “across the globe, one would be hard-pressed to identify a premier institution, even within the most developed nations, where a Nigerian, trained at home, is not contributing significantly, whether as a tech innovator or a medical specialist, in the noble pursuit of improving the human condition.”
On the efforts of the Federal Government to combat Covid-19 in Nigeria using science and technology, the Vice President said “the COVID-19 pandemic, while a tragic chapter, served as a catalyst for our brilliant minds in Nigeria to rejuvenate their pursuits in the fields of science and technology.”
Adding that “our scientists have successfully positioned our nation as a prominent global hub for mRNA vaccine production, a milestone currently in progress.”
Vice President Shettima who lauded the contributions of the youth in the nation’s quest for science, tech and innovation advancement emphasized that “Nigeria’s demographic advantage is not limited to the absence of an aging population. Nigeria stands as a beacon of youthful talent and innovation.”
Noting that “these young citizens are not only dedicated to integrating human elements into the evolving technological sphere, but their efforts also extend to diverse fields, ranging from telemedicine to the automation of agriculture, all with the aim of making our daily lives more seamless.”
On climate crisis, VP opined that “the climate crisis around the globe too has dominated our agenda, prompting our youthful innovators to engage in crafting solutions.”
“This fervent commitment has resulted in the establishment of start-ups like the Climate Action Africa (CMA) Labs, a hub dedicated to addressing diverse challenges posed by climate change, including severe droughts, flooding, and the escalating agricultural complexities”, he declared.
The Vice President while stressing the imperative of global partnership warned that “the stakes are high. If we fail to act now, the prevailing trend could imperil our attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Earlier in his welcome speech at the opening ceremony, the President of Cuba and Chair of G77+China, Miguel Diaz-Canel lamented the precarious situations faced by developing countries who are member-states.
He noted that science, technology and innovation have only benefitted developed countries while the global South is largely still facing very serious development challenges; the President therefore called for collective wisdom to address the challenges.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutteres in his brief remarks also noted the development problems confronting developing countries and promised the UN system will continue to work the G77 and China to proffer solutions to these challenges.
Senate Blocks First-time Senators from Contesting Senate President, Deputy Senate President Offices
Share **Approves nine other standing committees The Senate has amended its standing rules to prevent first-time senators from contesting for...
NDIC commences payment of N16.18bn to liquidated banks’ depositors
ShareFollowing impressive recoveries from debtors and realisation of assets of banks in liquidation, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has...
NLC,TUC Make U-Turn Suspend Planned Strike, FG To Pay Workers N35,000
Share Organised labour have suspended its planned nationwide indefinite strike action for the next month. This was contained in a...
Tribunal sacks Gov Sule, declares David Ombugadu winner
Share The Nasarawa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Lafia, the state capital, has nullified the election of Governor...
Nigeria@63: God Will Heal Our Nation – Pastor Adeboye
SharePastor Enoch Adeboye has prayed to God to heal Nigeria, asking citizens to also pray for the betterment of the...