By Emmanuel Mogbede
Niger – Ousseini Tinni, Speaker Nigerien National Assembly says the future and development of ECOWAS region depends on the ability of member states to unite.
He said this while welcoming members of the ECOWAS Parliament to the Fourth Legislative Meeting on Wednesday in Niamey.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day meeting will discuss gender equality, women empowerment, social and child protection, human rights and challenges of vulnerable groups.
He said that because member states had a shared history, the unity of the continent was attainable if all the integrated blocks unite economically to fight poverty.
According to him, the various blocks need to accept each other as neighbours before we can come together and make progress.
“We need to believe in the objectives of our union to make progress,” he said.
Tinni added that the present generation of ECOWAS leadership had the responsibility to remove barriers in the boarders of member states.
He said this was critical to ensure free movement of persons, goods and services within the region.
He said that there was also the need to put in place necessary institutions to ensure efficiency in the region.
According to him, there should be equality between men and women. Women should have access to education, lands, credit and all forms of profession without discrimination.
NAN reports that since its establishment, the ECOWAS Parliament has sought to strengthen the ECOWAS Commission´s action to protect and promote gender empowerment through the establishment of standing committees.
The meeting, which is expected to end on Oct. 7, will discuss the commission´s challenges, perspectives, its role and the respect for women´s rights in member-states.
The experience of Niger in terms of harmonising national laws relating to gender policies will also be discussed at the meeting.