By Bukar Bolori
The ECOWAS Parliament and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) have mapped out strategies on how to collaborate on initiating an active framework to promote integration, through free movement of people , which would expectedly grow business, trade and investment in the continent.
Indications to this development emerged when the Speaker of the EALA, Rt. Hon Ntakirutimana Joseph paid a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Rt Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis in Abuja on Thursday with both sides revealing plan on their work on modalities legislative action to promote integration.
Addressing a press conference after a closed door meeting, Hon Joseph said “ECOWAS and EALA have been working closely together, our aim is to build an Africa where we will have free movement and free business,” adding that “Africa should be one and the two regions can work together to achieve this dream.”
He stressed that although his region has challenges of economic crises in some of the member countries including political problems, he however insisted that these challenges can be surmounted through mediation and with the support of ECOWAS via exchange of ideas and knowledge.
Joseph, who was accompanied on the visit by a member of the Tanzanian parliament, Dr. Mlozi Shogo, used the opportunity to solicit for the support of the ECOWAS Parliament for the candidature of Dr. Tulia Ackson, the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament who is vying for the Speakership of the Inter- Parliamentary Union(IPU).
According Shogo, Ackson is a female lawyer, academic and politician that is said to possess profound credibility to lead the IPU, which represents women empowerment and progress and an inspiration to women not only in Africa but to the rest of the world.
Also speaking to reporters during the conference, Speaker Tunis noted that “free movement, “is an integral part on how we can collaborate more and because we represent the people of Africa, and we believe we can come up with the resolutions that can enhance free movement of people from West Africa to East Africa and vice versa. That is why I said that the aim is to work together for Africa to become one.”
On the issue of the candidature of Ackson, Tunis, while speaking when he accompanied Hon Joseph for a visit to Nigerian National Assembly said “we are very happy that African Union has already endorsed her. If we support her we will be doing so as Africans because she will represent Africa.”
Deputy speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ben Kalu, who received the delegation, said the visit was significant because it is a step forward in the continent for closer collaboration for mutual interest and for Africa to speak with one voice.
He added that in unity ” we can tackle problems such ” climate change , human trafficking” especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
He also encouraged Ackson in her dream of becoming the Speaker of IPU.