ECOWAS deploys more observers for Nigeria’s polls
WITH just 10 days to the commencement of the elections in Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission yesterday said that it had the full complement of its Long-Term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM) team to monitor the exercise in the country.
A statement released yesterday indicated that the sub-regional body’s observers were set for the March 28 and April 11 polls with 11 of the monitors joining their colleagues already in the field after briefing in Abuja on Monday.
“The first batch of the regional observers returned to Nigeria on March 2 following the postponement of the elections from February 14, 2015”, the statement said.
The LTEOM team is part of the larger 250-strong ECOWAS Election Observation Mission headed by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor to monitor the elections in Nigeria.
At the briefing on Monday, the Head of the Commission’s Electoral Assistance Division, Francis Oke, who is also a member of the ECOWAS election technical team, reminded the observers of their mandate and neutrality.
In another development, ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Women Affairs and Gender have expressed total commitment to the complete eradication of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the region, through various measures, including alleviating the socio-economic, humanitarian, security and cultural consequences of the disease on women.
At a meeting, organised by the ECOWAS Commission with the themed “Gender and Ebola:The Impact of the Disease on Women in West Africa,” on the occasion of the 59th Session of the UNCommission on the Status of Women in New York last Friday; the ministers lamented the negative effects of the EVD on the progress made by the West African community gender equality and regional integration.
The ministers, who noted that women and children are among the most exposed and vulnerable groups to the disease and stressed the need to reinforce the response measures both at the level of designing of strategies and their implementation, highlighted the importance of mainstreaming gender dimension in the fight against Ebola.
They called for support to the affected member-states by ECOWAS, UN Women, African Development Bank, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the African Union and other partners.
The support, the ministers said, should involve strengthening of national gender promotion mechanisms in the framework of response measures in the short, medium, and long terms. The ministers, therefore, called for the development of synergy of co-ordinated and harmonised actions through national mechanism of gender promotion in the framework of the ECOWAS response plan against the EVD.
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