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Regional economic integration in ECOWAS

By Iheukwumere Duru
29 March 2022   |   3:33 am
Sir: I was delighted to read the article entitled “ECOWAS Court President wants judicial systems of Member States harmonised”, published in The Guardian of February 25, 2022, and in which the Hon. Judge was quoted as saying that “It is...of utmost

Sir: I was delighted to read the article entitled “ECOWAS Court President wants judicial systems of Member States harmonised”, published in The Guardian of February 25, 2022, and in which the Hon. Judge was quoted as saying that “It is…of utmost importance that Member States of ECOWAS domesticate the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and the Protocols and Supplementary Acts of the Community.” 

As someone who has been researching for some time on ECOWAS and the process of regional economic integration, I think that the Hon. Judge deserves to be praised for speaking out. Actually, many of the problems which slow down the aforesaid integration process seem to have their roots in the fact that the primary legal instruments of the Community enter into force without being ratified by all the Member States.

This falls short of the requirements of the community legal system. It is hoped that the relevant stakeholders, including political leaders, legal practitioners, academics and the press will follow the Hon, Judge’s lead in the interest of “attain(ing) a Community legal regime that supports the region’s integration objectives.”

This having been said, may I use this opportunity to share with you a website “wareiobs.com” which aims to promote “community law” in West Africa, enhancing the understanding of the rules of free movement within the context of a common market. You will notice that the website entirely agrees with the views of the Judge. The latest article entitled “Entry into force of ECOWAS Protocols and Supplementary Acts” explains why it is absolutely necessary that such legal instruments be scrutinised and ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements before they enter into force. 

The website also deals with some of the other issues mentioned by the Hon Judge, such as the relationship between the Community Court and national courts, described by the Hon. Judge as “a crucial element in the integration process of ECOWAS”, or the enforcement of judicial decisions at national level. I trust that you will find the website useful.

Naturally, I would be grateful if you could publish any of the articles, as you deem appropriate, in your widely read newspaper, further enlightening the public on the functioning of a regional economic community. A response would be appreciated. Thank you.

Iheukwumere Duru

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