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ECOWAS Parliament Unhappy At African Immigrants Deaths In The Mediterranean

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, has decried the high African immigrants fatality in the Mediterranean Sea, describing it as sordid and scandalous.

The Parliament spoke through its Speaker, Senator Ike Ekwermadu during the opening of the 2015 First Ordinary Session of the Community Parliament in Abuja on Monday.

This also came on a day the former World Footballer of the Year and a Member of the Senate of Liberia, Senator George Weah was sworn in as a Member of the Community Parliament.

Ekweremadu who doubles as the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate said latest reports of illegal immigrant fatality in the Mediterranean Sea had hit 1,800, among them the elderly, minors, able-bodied young men and women.

He lamented: “It is sad that while the Transatlantic slave trade saw Africans chained and forcefully taken to foreign lands, the harsh economic realities at home today, force our people to embark on suicidal journeys into Europe and other parts of the world. This is very scandalous. We must initiate urgent and concerted efforts to end the suicidal voyages.”

“Accepted that greed, ignorance, and false expectations contribute to the endless fatal journeys, we must as regional and national parliaments step up our legislative efforts to entrench good governance that provides jobs, equal opportunities, and indeed caters for the welfare and security of our peoples”.

Meanwhile, also speaking through its Speaker, t has given kudos to Nigerians and the people of Togo for the successful conduct of general elections in both countriues, noting they “effectively combine to announce to the world that democracy has not only come to stay in West Africa, but that our democracies have truly come of age”.

While commending President Goodluck Jonathan for “this unprecedented show of statesmanship and sportsmanship”, he called on every African leader to emulate the President’s example to ensure that “true democracy, sanctity of the ballot box, and wishes of the people are upheld”.

He however emphasised that “Nigeria and indeed the West African sub-region will be the better for it if the winner matches President Jonathan’s sportsmanship in defeat with magnanimity in victory”.

“No part of the vast nation must be made to suffer any discrimination or persecution on account of their electoral choices as this is one of Nigeria’s finest moments and every effort must be made to consolidate the gains”, he added.

On the anti-terrorism war in Nigeria, Senator Ekweremadu commended the Government of Nigeria as well as those of the Republics of Niger, Chad, and Cameroun for their concerted and highly successful onslaughts against the Boko Haram insurgents.

“We say kudos to our gallant military forces, and reinstate our unreserved solidarity to them; we enjoin them to continue with this struggle until these merchants of death are devoid of any foothold not only in Nigeria, but also in any part of the sub-region”, he stated.

Highlights of the opening ceremony also included the swearing in of the only African to win the World Footballer of the Year award, Senator George Weah, and good will messages by diplomats and heads of other ECOWAS institutions, including the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, and the President of the Community Court of Justice, Hon. Justice Maria Do Ceu Monteiro Silva.



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