The Yamassoukro Meeting & 1st Face-to-Face Encounter between Omrie Golley & Foday Sankoh

The telephone conversation at a safe house in Danane, Ivory Coast with Corporal Foday Sankoh was to become the foundation upon which Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process was built. It was through that safe house bush radio conversation that Golley was able to detect an uncanny desire for international recognition and acceptance from the RUF leader. 

 The formation of an external delegation by the RUF was no small measure an attempt to establish diplomatic contact with the outside world and it had become obvious that the RUF leadership wanted to be taken seriously.     

 Golley met Foday Sankoh for the first time on the 24th March, 1996 at the City of Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast, 450 kilometres north of Abidjan. This was a couple of months after the meeting at Danane with the RUF external delegation.  

 He had returned to London after that initial encounter to escalate his engagements with International Alert, the ICRC, the Commonwealth Secretariat, UN and occasionally, through telephone conversations, with members of the RUF he had met in Danane. 

 It didn’t take Golley long to learn that a meeting had been scheduled between the NPRC military government of Sierra Leone and the RUF. In his quest to see a peaceful resolution of the conflict, as well as the realization that the said meeting would afford a wonderful opportunity for his group (operating under the umbrella of the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development NCRD) to meet with Foday Sankoh and the RUF leadership to continue the process of dialogue and encouragement  for a sustainable peaceful resolution of the conflict,  he wasted no time to mobilize other  members of  his organisation to travel with him to Yamoussoukro for the historic meeting. 

 He contacted Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Osman Yansaneh, Lans Gberie, Ambrose Ganda and other Sierra Leoneans and offered to meet the cost of the travel for the whole Group, from their respective departure points in the UK and West Africa. 

 The Late Ambrose Ganda, penning details of the historic event in his Focus on Sierra Leone in March 1996, wrote:

 "I arrived in Abidjan Sunday morning 24 March, determined to witness the historic meeting between Maada Bio and Foday Sankoh, but not knowing what the program of events was. I checked into my hotel room and was just about to steal a wink - having travelled on a night flight from London - when the telephone rang only for me to be told that both men were due to arrive in Yamoussoukro that very evening.

 "I hurriedly surrendered my keys at the reception and checked out. I was in the company of three compatriots - Omrie Golley, Chairman of the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development - which also paid for my trip as with an earlier visit, Mr Osman Yansaneh, a personal assistant of ex President Momoh, who travelled from Conakry, and Mr Lans Gberie, editor of Expo Times, who had travelled from Freetown as an independent observer. We boarded a hired jeep, and headed with a rendez-vous with history, nearly 450 kilometres in the North of Ivory Coast.”

 Golley and his fellow compatriots arrived late that evening, finding accommodation at the same hotel where both the Government of Sierra Leone delegation together with that of the RUF were residing, and sent word to both delegations that they had arrived to witness the historic event, expressing a desire to meet with them. 

 Golley and the rest of the group that accompanied him received immediate word from Foday Sankoh that he was very keen to meet with them.

 Warmly welcoming Golley and his fellow Sierra Leoneans, Sankoh went on to berate Ambrose Ganda, in a friendly way, for some unflattering remarks Ganda had made months earlier about the RUF,  in one of his publications which had been brought to his attention. Sankoh was equally swift on putting that episode aside, engaging the group in an informal manner. He then went on to speak copiously about the reasons why the RUF had embarked on what he termed ‘an armed struggle’, and giving a lecture on what he termed the core of the thinking of the Movement - Pan Africanism- and the need for grass roots involvement in the political dispensation of Sierra Leone which he described as lacking.  

 Golley and Ganda in their own individual comments mentioned to the RUF leader that they had come as independent observers to the peace meeting, not being part of any official delegation. Golley went on to add that they would probably be waiting outside the hall - where the meeting was to take place -  until it’s conclusion, and that the Group had come to Yamassoukro to give moral and where necessary, practical support to both sides. 

 Sankoh’s immediate response was; 

 "We are all Sierra Leoneans, aren’t we? We are here to talk about peace for our country. Every Sierra Leonean must be welcome! You do not need an invitation for that, do you? You should come to the hall tomorrow to make your presence felt."

 Golley remembered this initial encounter in which these historic deliberations also brought with it   an amusing moment.

 ‘’We were all seated in the inner suite of Foday Sankoh’s quarters with Sankoh resplendent in traditional ronko attire, with us listening animatedly to him dilating on the reasons why the RUF took up arms.

 In the middle of this discourse, Sankoh got up suddenly to attend to a call of nature. Thinking that this brief interlude, would afford the group a few minutes to compare notes on our individual feelings, we were surprised to witness Sankoh enter the bathroom, sit on the toilet seat, bathroom door ajar, continuing with his discourse as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with this particular mode of engaging in public conversation” said Golley. 

 The scheduled peace talks eventually took place, the following morning, on Monday 25th March 1996. It was a historic meeting between the NPRC Leader and Head of State Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and the RUF Leader. 

 This initial encounter was itself preceded by high drama for which Omrie Golley and his brethren had not expected.

 Just before the event itself started one of the NPRC Delegates came into the Hall and formally objected to Golley’s group, naming him in particular, stating that he (Golley) and his team were neither part of the government delegation nor part of the RUF Delegation. 

The meeting stalled and escalated into a serious stalemate. 

 The RUF Delegation maintained that, as Sierra Leoneans,  Golley and his Group, were perfectly entitled to remain as observers of the Meeting. The Government delegation on the hand argued that the NCRD team was not illegible to attend as they weren’t part of the official or RUF  delegation. 

“For my part, initially I dug my heels in, stating that as observers recognized by the hosts in the Ivory Coast, together with one of the participating Delegations who had insisted that we attend, we couldn’t simply leave the Hall because the Government Delegation objected’’

The Stalemate sadly continued, with the delegations maintaining their respective positions. Tempers flared.

Golley continues 

‘’The historic Meeting was on the verge of collapsing even before it started. One side, it seemed, had to back down or give in’’

It was however not long before Golley relented, taking the view that his being  singled out by one of the Parties  to the peace talks, objecting to him and the Group witnessing the occasion, was a small price to pay, taking into account the reason why he was there in the first place - giving peace a chance, and doing everything possible to end the hostilities and bring about a lasting and sustainable peace to Sierra Leone.

Stay tuned for more and more interesting reading coming your way!!


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ECOWAS Parliament Meets to Discuss Food Security, Agriculture Production & the Fight against COVID 19

Monday 9th November 2020: Bissau: Action Against Hunger, the world expert on hunger and malnutrition with over 40 years operational experience confirmed during the World Food Day on Friday October 16th 2020, that over 7% of the world’s children under age five – approximately 47 million children in 2019 suffer from acute malnutrition. It further says that world hunger is projected to rise to an additional 132 million people this year as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Population growth and urbanization; climate change and deterioration of environmental conditions; market dynamics and food supply; natural disasters, civil conflicts and food crises; gender inequalities; and most importantly poverty and inequality have all been identified by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations as determinants of food insecurity and malnutrition in particularly the West Africa region.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), hunger and malnutrition are worsening in parts of the West African continent because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in low-income communities or those already stricken by continued conflict.

FAO called for robust measures by West Africa states to maintain four pillars such as food availability, access to food, stability and nutrition.

The basis of the robust measures being taken so far by members has led the regional Parliament of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) under the distinguished leadership of its Speaker, His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis to convey a meeting of joint committees on Agriculture, Environment, Water Resources and Sustainable Development/ Industry and Private Sector/ Health/ Energy and Mines/ Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment to discuss the most vital theme of “ECOWAS food security and agriculture production program and the fight against COVID 19.”

The general objective of the meeting, which is scheduled to take place from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th November 2020, in Bissau, the capital city of Guinea Bissau is to enable the Joint Committee interact with the ECOWAS Commission and assess the status of COVID-19 pandemic, agricultural production and food insecurity in the ECOWAS region.

Also worthy to note is that this meeting of ECOWAS Parliament Members of Parliament (MPs) which is conveyed by the Speaker himself, comes exactly two (2) weeks after His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis served as chair of a high level regional meeting with West and Central Africa parliamentarians on mobilizing parliamentarians and keeping nutrition as a priority during COVID 19. In that meeting, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament called on regional law makers to prioritize advocacy on the protection of the right to food.

Meanwhile, according to research by the writer, the Right to Food has been accepted as a legally binding obligation by all West African states. According to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty in Article 25 says “Member States shall co-operate in the development of agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries in order to: a) ensure food security; b) increase production and productivity in agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry, and improve conditions of work and generate employment opportunities in rural areas; c) enhance agricultural production through processing locally, animal and plant products; and d) protect the prices of export commodities on the international market.”

In addition, this right has been binding obligation on states that are parties to and have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It is also binding on ECOWAS states that have ratified human rights instruments relevant to the Right to Food, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which Article 12 recognises the right of pregnant and lactating women to special protection with regard to nutrition; and Article 14 recognises the right of rural women’s access to land, water and services. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 25 recognises the right to health, including nutrition; and Article 27 the right to an adequate standard of living, including nutrition. Also, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 6 recognises the right to life and Article 7 the right to be free from inhumane and degrading treatment.

In the fight against COVID 19, West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), observed that there is 92.7% recovery rate of COVID 19 cases in West Africa. However, the measures adopted to curtail the spread of the virus in the region have caused more problems as experts are projecting increased in the rate of hunger and malnutrition in the region. Thus the need for various stakeholders in the region, including the ECOWAS Parliament to take-up measures to protect food security and agriculture production program during the fight against COVID 19.




ECOWAS Parliament Speaker Urges Regional MPs to Prioritize Advocacy on the Protection of the Right to Food

Speaker of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis has today Monday 26th October 2020 whilst serving as chair of a high level regional meeting with West and Central Africa parliamentarians on mobilizing parliamentarians and keeping nutrition as a Priority during COVID 19 called on regional law makers to prioritize advocacy on the protection of the right to food.

Speaker Sidie Mohamed Tunis Reps ECOWAS Parliament during 1st Official Visit to Abuja

Last Friday 25th September 2020, saw the Speaker of the regional Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Parliament jet into the headquarters of the regional body in Abuja, capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the very first time since he took over office in March this year.
His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis has so far made significant progress barely a week since taking over his new office in Abuja, an event that was delayed due to the outbreak of the global Coronavirus Pandemic which halted all travels and led to the closure of all airports across West Africa. 
Meanwhile, so far during his first official trip to Abuja, the headquarters of ECOWAS Parliament, His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis on day one in office held closed door meetings with the Secretary General of Parliament and the Director of Parliamentary Affairs. Their discussions centered on Administrative issues including the upcoming Parliamentary Seminar and Extraordinary Session scheduled for Accra from 20th to 30th October 2020. They all discussed other missions of Parliament including Parliament's Observation Missions to 5 West African States that are holding elections this year.
Furthermore, on day two of his official visit, the Honourable Speaker met with Heads of Divisions and Staff of ECOWAS Parliament. Each divisional head was given the platform to make a 5 minute's presentation on his/her Division. The presentation centered on overview of the functions of the division, challenges and goals.
Following the presentations, the Honorable Speaker thanked the Staff for their commitment and admonished them to work in unity for the uplifting of Parliament. He then highlighted some of the challenges he has observed since taking over as Speaker and pledged to do all within his powers to solve some of the issues. He disclosed that he will institute some administrative adjustments and shifting of staff to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in Parliament's operations. 
Meanwhile, on Wednesday 30th September 2020, the Honourable Speaker Sidie Mohamed Tunis signed MoU with the National Assembly of Niger on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) which is geared towards combating Cyber Crime.
The landmark of the official visit of the Honourable Speaker to Abuja came today 1st October 2020, during which he sent and official letter of solidarity to both President Alpha Conde of Republic of Guinea and President Muhammadu Buhari of Federal Republic of Nigeria whose countries are celebrating their Independence Day.
In a letter addressed to HE Alpha Conde of Guinea on the occasion of the 62nd Independence Day Anniversary of his country, Speaker Tunis said: “Your Country has no doubt had its fair share of thick and thins, but your resilience as a nation and people proved superior over the forces of evil.  Not many nations in the world have a history of independence like yours. Yours is a history of courage, bravery, and high spirit!”
On the other hand, Nigeria celebrated its sixtieth (60th) anniversary. In a letter addressed to H.E. President Buhari, the Rt. Hon. Speaker praised Nigeria's resilience towards succeeding as a nation and her contributions to the growth of ECOWAS. He said "Despite the challenges that you have been confronted with over the years, you have come out stronger and better. In sixty years, you have shown that a people who are determined to live and survive together can do so regardless of the challenges and the adversities that they face".
To climax the Nigerian 60th Independence Day Celebration, HE Sidie Mohamed Tunis joined His Excellency the Governor of Kwara State in Nigeria and Madam First Lady of Kwara State in a virtual conference on "Gender Equality". The Conference had Her Excellency the Former President of the Republic of Liberia Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other distinguished personalities including the UN Deputy Secretary General HE Amina Mohamed and the Federal Minister of Women Affairs of Nigeria who also serving as panelist.
During the Kwara State conference on Gender Equality, HE Speaker Tunis of ECOWAS Parliament said ECOWAS as an institution has made significant progress in addressing women issues and securing a participatory framework for women. He said since its formation, “ECOWAS has adopted several instruments and established institutions to secure social protection for women and increase their participation in governance. One of such instruments is the Supplementary Act on the Equality of Rights between Women and Men for Sustainable Development in the ECOWAS Region.”
His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis added that at the ECOWAS Parliament, Article 18 (1) (c) of the Supplementary Act Relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament, adopted by the 50th Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja on 17th December, 2016, mandates each Member State to ensure at least 30 percent female representation in their parliamentary delegation. He said “the truth is, I sincerely believe that the 30% is still very low, especially owing to the enormous contributions women are making in our states.”
Furthermore, HE Sidie Mohamed Tunis added that at the inauguration of the current legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament on 9th March, 2020, in Niamey, Niger Republic, where he was elected Speaker, he emphasized that “the integration of gender perspective into our mainstream politics and conflict management is key to designing an inclusive and effective development program for ECOWAS.” 
“I expressed the commitment that working with the ECOWAS Gender Center and Civil Society Organizations, we shall seek to explore avenues to build local capacity of women’s groups and networks in peace building and conflict resolutions. We shall also endeavor to identify and remove obstacles to women participation in mainstream politics, peace building and mediation activities in ECOWAS States,” Speaker Tunis concluded.
Meanwhile, HE Tunis has left Abuja on Friday 2nd October 2020 for another official visit to the Republic of Guinea.

APC Zonal Chairman on the Run after Persistent Attack on his Life

February 14th 2020:  Morlai Kargbo, All Peoples Congress (APC) Zonal Chairman for Orogu Community, Constituency 113, Ward 339, Western Rural District of Sierra Leone is said to be on the run after persistent attack on his life.
According to family sources, Morlai transferred to the Orogu Community in 2007 but because he was developmentally oriented, the APC party executive earmarked him to be part of the leadership in the constituency. In 2015, he was officially appointed as APC Zonal Chairman for Orogu Community, Constituency 113, Ward 339. Hence, during the 2018 general elections, the APC appointed Morlai polling agent at the Evelyn Royal Academy in Allen Town.
Morlai was not only assigned as polling agent but also as coordinator of all the APC polling staff in the polling center. During that process, claims are that he obstructed the NEC officials because he alleged they were doing malpractices.
Based on that, following the announcement of elections results, at midnight SLPP supporters stormed Morlai’s house using uncouth language and also threatened to burn down his house.
Meanwhile, for safety reasons, Morlai was said to have left the house for another place.
During the Bye-Election in Constituency 58 Ward 196 in Tonko Limba Chiefdom, Kambia District at his hometown, the APC indigenes from that region stormed the region to sensitize the people about the importance of that election in Tonkor Limba.
They enticed the momentum of the people, but  allegations are that when the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) stakeholders saw that, the SLPP allegedly brought in thugs and security personnel to fire at the scene killing a 14 yrs old boy who is the son of an APC supporter. They chased away all the APC stakeholders who ran through the bush from Mile 14 to Kambia Town.
Intimidation and sacking became overwhelmed and APC party supporters were constantly intimidated. Unfortunately for Morlai, issue happened at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay (Water Quay) where Morlai was protecting the interest of his office NSBT (Nectar Sierra Leone Bulk Terminal) and with the controversial redundancy done by the company, his political affiliation became a question.
The stakeholders at the Quay began to question his popularity and they said they knew he was a zonal chairman for the APC. Allegations are that he was whistleblower for the NSBT General Manager and his father’s office was use as the harbor to hold APC Party meetings.
On 16th January 2020 Morlai was rushed to Tonko Limba by his family to seek medical attention after he fell sick but they realized that he had native (fangay) attack in his neck. He sought traditional healing. At which point, Morlai was advised to fully protect himself for the future. The herbalists in Tonkor Limba advised that he should join the native Limba Gbangbani society. He gave them assurances that he would join subsequently, but however returned to Freetown again.
On Wednesday the 29th January 2019, Morlai was attacked by 4 people who beat him and nearly killed him. However, because of the intervention of pedestrians, he was saved. The thugs went onto their vehicles and drove off.
Morlai’s life became more under threats that he had to run away from home. Until now, his family cannot tell journalists where he has headed to.

ECOWAS Commission Pledges Support to Regional Parliament

President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, His Excellency Dr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, has on Saturday 25th July 2020 congratulated Speaker of the 5th Legislature of ECOWAS Parliament His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis, and pledged the Commission's total support to the Parliament.

 Whilst delivering his speech to the regional members of parliament at the ECOWAS Parliament’s 2nd extraordinary session of 2020 held via videoconference between Monday 20th to Saturday 25th July 2020, the President of ECOWAS Commission said: “It is together, strong and united that we will win, that we will triumph over the evils which overwhelm us to turn resolutely towards the objectives of regional integration. In this regard, I would like to assure you that the Commission and all the other ECOWAS Institutions stand ready to work together with you for the achievement of all the objectives of our Organization.”

In addition, the ECOWAS Commission President dilated that for ECOWAS Parliament to be able to play its role, they must work in “coordination and synergy, revitalize and re-establish our framework for exchanges between Parliament's standing committees and Departments of the ECOWAS Commission; contribute in a concrete and effective manner to the development and implementation of Community programs which have an impact on our populations; strengthen institutional dialogue and communication; cooperate in a judicious manner to make the ECOWAS area a space of peace, security and development; put to good use the input, utility and support of Parliament for the visibility of ECOWAS in member states.”

Furthermore, HE Dr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou added that the Community Levy (PC) remains the most important source of income and funding for ECOWAS programs and activities. However he said, one of the harmful consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is the significant drop in imports in the region, which necessarily affects the mobilization of products from the community levy. Thus, he said “as of June 30, 2020, the Community has only succeeded in mobilizing 11.8% of PC revenue. This is why we ask you to advocate for the mobilization of your respective Parliaments for the timely contribution of your countries to the fruits of the Community Levy. In doing so, the Commission will include in its field missions, the Honorable Members of the Parliament of ECOWAS to reap the fruits of the PC in accordance with the strengthening of inter-institutional cooperation.”

Moreover, the ECOWAS Commission President added that the significance of the gathering for the second time in the Extraordinary Session of the Fifth Legislature of the year 2020 is in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Additional Act relating to the strengthening of the prerogatives of Parliament that the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS adopted on December 17, 2016, in particular in its Chapter V, relating to the competences and the processes of adoption of the community acts, in Article 5 relating to the modalities of participation in the processes of the community acts which stipulates that: "the Parliament express its opinion when adopting Community acts, either by: Notice or Compliant notice."

Meanwhile, in his closing remarks, the Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis on behalf of the members expressed their profound gratitude to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Dr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and his “team of competent Commissioners and Technocrats, for the collaboration between our two important Institutions.”                                                     

HE Tunis furthered that: “Over the years since the inception of the Parliament, our collaboration with the Commission had grown wider; covering virtually all areas associated with the integration process. Ours is a symbiotic relationship, in which we as politicians are expected to promote the ideals of the Community at the level of Member States, while the Commission, with its team of competent technocrats, is to ensure total implementation of programmes and policies. We are determined to reap maximal benefits out of this relationship and we expect it to yield adequate rewards for the promotion of the vision of our founding fathers.”

 In addition, HE Tunis said, unfortunately, the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament had to encounter a great challenge almost immediately after inauguration due the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. He added that “there is no doubt that the remaining part of 2020 and early 2021 would be highly challenging, both economically and socially. Ours is to collaborate with our Governments, both at national and regional levels, to ensure that we protect the interest of our people and work towards easing their affairs during this anticipated difficult period.”

Whilst concluding and closing the 2020 2nd Extraordinary Session, ECOWAS Parliament Speaker HE Tunis said their “duty as Community Parliamentarians is not restricted to when we hold meetings or other activities. We remain Community Members of Parliament where ever we find ourselves. We should, therefore, endeavor to preach the ideal of ECOWAS at all times and in all places.”

Meanwhile it could be recalled that for the very first time, the community parliament met via videoconference for a six-day virtual extraordinary session to consider some referrals from Community institutions on germane issues that border on the wellbeing of the people of the sub-region. Notable among the referrals are: Request by the President of the ECOWAS Commission seeking assistance from the Parliament in implementing the ECOWAS protocol on the community levy; That Parliament takes decision relating to the contribution of ECOWAS Member States to the African Union Solidarity Fund in the fight against COVID-19; Referral from the ECOWAS Commission on the fight against COVID-19, the stabilization and recovery of the economies of ECOWAS Member States amongst others.






ECOWAS Urges Members to collaborate in Academic Research

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged member states to collaborate in academic researches.

This point was raised during the discussions on Wednesday 23rd July 2020 at the Joint Committees meeting of the Committee on Education, Science and Culture and the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) of the ECOWAS Parliament held virtually.

During the session, the ECOWAS Parliament committees were to consider and also present to the plenary the referral from the ECOWAS Commission on: (1) Adopting the Rules for the Support Programme for Research and Innovation; and (2) Adopting the ECOWAS operational Strategy for Spatial Sciences and technologies.

Meanwhile, as the session continued, one of the ECOWAS parliamentarians who dilated on the significance of regional collaboration on academic researches, Honourable Chantel Fanny called on regional governments to teach at the preliminary stages all three regional languages such as English, French and Portuguese as she said this can help greatly in regional integration.

Deputy Speaker 4 of the ECOWAS Parliament, Honourable Adja Satu Camara Pinto spoke about the importance of research in Agriculture. She called on the ECOWAS Commission to look into issues of researches into insecticides and flooding which she said are direct link to scientific research.

ECOWAS Commissioner on Education, Science and Culture Professor Leopoldo Amado whilst responding to points raised by the Honourable Members said the commission scientists are all working together irrespective of country of origin. He said it would be prudent to use traditional languages like Hausa, Madinka and Fullah which are non-Western languages to help in academic researches.

Director of Education, Science and Culture at the ECOWAS Commission, Professor Abdoulaye Maga was pessimistic that teaching the three regional languages has not been met. He cited that it is very difficult for West African schools to get expert teachers in all three regional languages, apparently because of what he referred to as funding issues.

In addition, Professor Abdoulaye Maga said that the harmonization of West Africa schools’ curriculum and certificates would be very difficult. Hence he said it would be very much not useful if we harmonize tertiary institutions’ curriculum and certificates without first of all harmonizing the  primary and secondary schools curriculum.

Meanwhile, on her side whilst addressing and presenting the report of the ECOWAS Commission on Education, Science and Culture to Parliamentarians virtually, Mrs. Rachel Ogbe, Principal Programme Officer (PPO) on Education of the ECOWAS Commission, stated that ECOWAS seeks to achieve a number of specific objectives, the first being to develop regional criteria for the harmonization of pre-university qualifications, in particular the period of study, content of curricula, qualification assessment and other prerequisites for the establishment of equivalence of Member States’ accreditation systems.

This according to her presentation will involve defining benchmarks/criteria to match university and professional qualifications in the region, draw up a list of courses in Member States’ universities as well as admission requirements, number of years of study, required credits and certificates.

Other specific objectives contained in her presentation will be to clarify the classification of academic qualifications (certificate, diploma, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, etc.) in Member States and develop a road-map for the implementation of the ECOWAS Convention on equivalence of certificates.


As he says the task of providing a voice for the voiceless is beyond holding virtual meetings… ‘Parliament will revert back to our physical meetings once the situation permits’- Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament Assures

The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament, His Excellency Sidie Mohamed Tunis has assured that the sessions of the community’s parliament will soon return to physical meetings once the situation permits. This situation been referred to here by the Speaker is the deadly Coronavirus Pandemic which has hit all countries of the world and has greatly prevented physical meetings due to social distancing measures to curtail the spread of the virus.

HE Tunis made this disclosure on Tuesday 21st July 2020, whilst delivering his opening speech to the plenary of the 2nd 2020 Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament. This session was done online via Zoom Virtual link and saw ECOWAS Parliament’s Members of Parliament (MPs) from all fifteen (15) community members’ state in attendance. During the session, a motion was moved by Honourable Mahama Ayariga from Ghana for the session to be done by virtual meeting as online session has never happened in the history of the ECOWAS Parliament. It was seconded and moved on with.

 Meanwhile, it could be recalled, according to an earlier news release from ECOWAS Parliament, following guidelines on the Covid-19 protocols for ECOWAS Institutions, issued by the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Parliament is holding a five-day virtual Extraordinary session to consider some referrals from Community institutions on germane issues that border on the wellbeing of the people of the sub-region, in line with the provisions of the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament.

 Notable among the referrals are: Request by the President of the ECOWAS Commission seeking assistance from the Parliament in implementing the ECOWAS protocol on the community levy; that Parliament takes decision relating to the contribution of ECOWAS Member States to the African Union Solidarity Fund in the fight against COVID-19: and Referral from the ECOWAS Commission on the fight against COVID-19, the stabilization and recovery of the economies of ECOWAS Member States.

 Meanwhile, whilst dilating on the impact of Coronavirus on the operations of the ECOWAS Parliament, His Excellency Tunis in his opening statement said: “I honestly cannot imagine that we were unable to hold the 1st Ordinary Session in May. This was the first time in history that the Parliament would miss holding an Ordinary Session as scheduled. I also couldn’t imagine holding an Extra Ordinary Session virtually. Many thanks to technology; at least we will be able to use this obviously imperfect avenue for a Parliament to meet.”

 On the area of achieving the 2020 work plans of the 5th Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, Speaker Tunis said: “We will also pursue the 2020 work plan as vigorously as the situation permits us to. In collaboration with the General Secretariat, we are watching unfolding events as they relate to the safety of holding physical meetings. I wish to recall that we are yet to hold the 2020 1st Ordinary Session. We also need to organise several Committee meetings around our Member States as is customary.”

 In addition, HE Tunis said “I am, quick to add that Parliaments cannot perpetually hold their activities virtually. The task of representing the people, embarking on oversight functions, conducting parliamentary interpellation and providing a voice for the voiceless is beyond holding virtual meetings.”

 Therefore, he said: “We as a Parliament will do our best to discharge our functions online, but will revert back to our physical meetings once the situation permits.”

 Meanwhile, during the opening session of the plenary, several other speakers made statements. This includes the President of the ECOWAS Court, Mr Edward Asante who said that the court started on the route of using virtual meetings about a month ago when they initiated the use of this technology after the pandemic forced the adjournment of 71 cases including 27judgments and 12 applications for accelerated hearing.

 The ECOWAS Court President further said that “With the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, it is increasingly becoming obvious that we would have to rely on virtual sessions for the foreseeable future beyond the pandemic because; for the Court, the technology has the additional benefit of improving citizens access to the, with savings from transportation and associated costs of traveling to Abuja for sessions, not to talk about saving of hotel expenses for both parties and the lawyers.”

 On the area of referrals, Mr Edward Asante said “Just like the Parliament, the Court also has the power to entertain referrals under its original mandate as the principal legal organ of the Community.” However, he said unlike the ECOWAS Parliament, the “the Court has never in its history received any such referrals from any Member State, a worrisome development which has implications for the development of Community law and its integration into those of the States.”

 Hence he said: “we look forward to work with Parliament and ECOWAS parliamentarians towards ensuring that the ECOWAS Court receives referrals from national courts because of its salutary impact on our integration project. In this way we will be strengthening the collaboration between both institutions in the service of the Community and furthering the delivery of justice.”

 Another speaker who made a meaningful presentation at the Opening session of the ECOWAS Parliament’s Plenary was the Director General of the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO), Professor Stanley Okolo who said that since 1970 the world has average disease outbreaks every year. He said several factors including over population and lack of hygiene facilities result to that. He warned regional governments to be very careful in reopening borders as that could result to a second wave of the Coronavirus outbreak.

 ECOWAS Commission presented the briefing on the status of the Community Levy.

 Before the end of the opening session, the ECOWAS Parliament considered and adopted the draft agenda and draft Work Programme of the first 2020 Extraordinary Session; it considered and adopted the draft report of the inaugural session of the Fifth Legislature of Parliament; it Considered and adopted the draft Work Programme of Standing, Joint and Ad Hoc Committees; and it also considered and adopted the draft Plan of Activities of Parliament for the second half of 2020.

 The plenary was adjourned to Saturday 25th July 2020, but between now and then, several committee meetings are scheduled to take place until Friday 24th July 2020.

ECOWAS Parliament Debuts Virtual Parliamentary Session

Abuja, 20 July, 2020 - ECOWAS Parliament has joined the league of Community institutions to deploy the use of technology in conducting its sessions and meetings, with the Second Extraordinary Session commences today Monday, 20th July, 2020, using the Zoom virtual platform.

Following guidelines on the Covid-19 protocols for ECOWAS Institutions, issued by the President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the Bureau of Parliament is scheduled to hold a five-day virtual Extra-Ordinary session to consider some referrals from Community institutions on germane issues that border on the wellbeing of the people of the sub-region, in line with the provisions of the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the Parliament.

Notable among the referrals are:

  • Request by the President of the ECOWAS Commission seeking assistance from the Parliament in implementing the ECOWAS protocol on the community levy
  • That Parliament takes decision relating to the contribution of ECOWAS Member States to the African Union Solidarity Fund in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Referral from the ECOWAS Commission on the fight against COVID-19, the stabilization and recovery of the economies of ECOWAS Member

This virtual Extra-Ordinary session heralds an era of a new normal, occasioned by the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, Parliament’s administration has concluded all technical and manpower arrangements to ensure a seamless session.

The virtual session is an innovation that is yet to be ventured by many national and supra- national parliaments around the world, an indication of the level of importance the ECOWAS Parliament arrogates to its duties and responsibilities towards the Community’s Citizens, preferring that its work is not stalled regardless of the ravaging pandemic.

Preceding the opening of the Extra-Ordinary session would be the Conference of Committees Bureaux, statutorily composed of the Bureau, Chairman and 1st Rapporteurs of the 14 Standing Committees as well as Chairmen of Parliamentary Groups, with the mandate of considering and adopting the Draft Agenda and Work Program of the session, legitimizing those documents to be considered and adopted by the Plenary. The meeting is usually convened and chaired by the Speaker of Parliament. 

The virtual Extra-Ordinary Session is scheduled to end on Friday, 25 July, 2020.



Friday, August 21st 2019 marks a year of the passing of Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy, wife of Late Honourable Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy (First Financial Secretary of Sierra Leone) and Member of Parliament of Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).  Hadja Hawa was born 1st December 1922 to Sowoi Mariama Fortune and Alhaji Ali Khadar.
Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy hails from Mongeray, Kpaka, Pujehun where her mother was born.  Oh! how she just loved Mongeray.   Her father was born in Helba, North Lebanon.
Hadja Hawa Khadar Daramy passed away at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday 21st August


With gratitude to God for a life well lived

Obituary for the late Evelyn Lauretta Idowu-Davies
Sunrise:11 February 1925
Sunset : 10 March 2019
Aged 94
Funeral & Communion service : Friday 22 March at the Ebenezer Methodist Church Murray Town at 2:30
From the Children and grandchildren at home and abroad.

17th March 2019, marks the 20th Anniversary of the passing away of HONORABLE, DR. SHEIKH BATU DARAMY SR, aka, SB Daramy.  Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy, Sr. B.Sc (Economics from London School of Economics, UK), M.A., Ph.D from Howard University, was born on 20th September, 1920 in Makeni.  Today we remember one of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) oldest members.  In 1948, Hon. Dr. Sheikh Batu Daramy was awarded a Sierra Leone Government scholarship to attend the London School of Economics from where he graduated in 1952 with a B.Sc in Economics. ...

The death is announced of Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi age 84 years whose sad event took place today Monday 12th November, 2018. He is survived by his wife Balkisu Din Gabisi of 3 Ingham Street Fourah Bay Community, Freetown. Sisters: Haja Bola Deen (Late) and Ola Din-Gabisi (UK)
Children: Mrs. Christiana Bultman-Sulaiman of the USA
Mr. Sulay Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Zainab Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Aziz Din Gabisi of Freetown
Mr. Dyfu Din Gabisi of USA
Miss Blanche Bultman of USA
Mr. Fuad Din Gabisi ...


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