ECOWAS, Kwara map out infrastructure support towards regional market integration

[files] Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq PHOTO: Twitter
By Oludare Richards, Abuja
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq PHOTO: Twitter

Kwara State’s governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Tuesday said that Kwara State, which shares a border with the Republic of Benin, is building the necessary infrastructure to support and strengthen regional ties in the spirit of ECOWAS’ integration objectives, particularly the concept of a common market for the region.

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In a message presented by the deputy governor, Kayode Alabi, the governor said that with an area of over 5 million square kilometres and an estimated population of 418 million, it is imperative that the ECOWAS Court continues to play a significant role in cementing the legal regime for the development of the ECOWAS region through its adjudicatory mandate in the settlement of disputes.

“An example is an international market we are building in Gbugbu which will attract people from across Nigeria and the West African sub-region,’’ the Governor said in a message at the opening ceremony of a week-long sensitization campaign of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Ilorin, the state capital.

“This is particularly important as the concept of one market and free trade continues to gain ground across, not only the sub-region, but the African continent, thus making it necessary to involve the justice system in this sociopolitical evolution,” the governor said.

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The governor pledged the government’s support for the campaign and praised the court for its initiative in organising the campaign to enhance public awareness of its activities.

He noted that this campaign will positively impact the promotion of the rule of law in the West African sub-region, stating that the entrenchment of the rule of law is indispensable in the quest to deepen the political and economic ties of the 15 member states of the ECOWAS community.

The president of the court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, explained that the campaign is an annual activity in member states, and it is designed to deepen the knowledge of citizens about the court and how to access it.

He explained that the campaign is aimed at addressing the observed general public’s lack of awareness about the Court; its mandate and jurisdiction across the sub-region, and that in the aftermath of the adoption of the ECOWAS Vision 2020 towards a citizen-driven community, it became imperative for the peoples of the sub-region to be fully sensitised about their court in order to deepen their knowledge about the Court.

Asa said the programme has been designed in such a way that the presentations respond to the peculiar needs of each group including the Judicial Forum for Judges which will mainly dwell on the relationship with national courts, the Women’s Forum which will enable the Court highlight the “monumental work’ being done in the protection of women’s rights, and a Lawyers’ Forum.
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“The essence of the sensitisation programme is to create awareness about the Court, its mandate, jurisdiction, jurisprudence, practice and procedure among ECOWAS community citizens in the 15 member states,” the president said in the address which was delivered by Justice Dupe Atoki.

Earlier, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Salman Jawondo, who is a member of the country’s inner bar, spoke of the benefits of the campaign for legal practitioners and citizens of the State, especially with the adoption of the 2005 Protocol on the Court which grants individuals access to the Court for matters relating to human rights violations in the member states.

The ECOWAS Court will on Wednesday, February 23, hold the Judicial Forum for the judges, followed by the Women’s Forum. The campaign will end on Friday, 25th February 2022.

The delegation of the Court is led by the Vice President, Justice Gberi be Ouattara and includes Justices Dupe Atoki, Keikura Bangura, Januaria Costa and other members of staff.

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