The Authority of ECOWAS has congratulated the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the reopening of its land borders with its neighbours and called on Member States to continue their efforts in the effective implementation of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment.The communique issued by the ECOWAS Commission after the 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on January 23, 2021 via videoconference, said that The Authority endorsed the Declaration on Zero Tolerance for Sexual and Gender Based Violence and the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls in the ECOWAS region, and to promote cooperation and collaboration across national borders between ECOWAS Member States and third countries, with a view to preventing and combating this scourge.
The Authority took note of the ongoing institutional reforms in Community institutions, in particular the development of Vision 2050, formulation of a Monitoring and Evaluation Policy, and the Human Capital Development Programme, as well as the staff skills audit and the revision of the Staff Regulations, which are currently being finalized and directed the President of the Commission to continue the efforts of reduction of the operating costs of ECOWAS Institutions.
On peace, security and democracy, The Authority reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region as prerequisites for the economic integration and development of the region.
The Authority welcomed the successful conduct of presidential elections in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger and commended the Governments and people of these countries for the successful conduct and organisation of the electoral processes and deplores the rare incidents of violence that marred elections in some countries.
The Authority extended its warmest congratulations to The Excellencies Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Alassane Ouattara, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Alpha Conde for their re-election to the highest public office of their respective countries, and wished them every success.
It also welcomed the successful conduct of the first round of the presidential and legislative elections in Niger on 27 December 2020 and called on the political stakeholders in Niger to maintain the momentum for smooth conduct of the runoff election on 21 February 2021.
“The Authority encourages Member States to further engage in political dialogue before elections to create a conducive environment for a peaceful and consensual outcome of electoral processes. Furthermore, it instructs the 8 President of the Commission to maintain ECOWAS support to Member States conducting elections.
“On The Gambia, the Authority takes note of the political divergencies in the country regarding the revision of the Constitution as the country prepares for presidential and legislative elections at the end of 2021.
“It commends Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for agreeing to facilitate dialogue among national political stakeholders on the contentious issues surrounding the draft Constitution, which is due to be put to a referendum in June 2021 before the presidential elections in December 2021. 29,” the communique said.
The Authority also welcomed the progress made and called on all political stakeholders in The Gambia to build consensus on the draft Constitution. It called on the relevant authorities to maintain dialogue for the adoption of the Constitution and the compliance with the electoral calendar.