A member of the ECOWAS parliament, Hon Suleiman Lasun, has declared that the regional law-making body was merely an advisory body with no legal powers.
The Nigerian lawmaker stated that the seemingly lack of visibility of activities of the parliament was informed by the powerlessness of the regional parliamentary body.
Hon. Lasun disclosed these in Abuja on Thursday, at the ongoing second ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament.
He stated that the parliament was on the verge of harmonizing all institutions under it, and recently just had the power to carry out oversight functions.
“ECOWAS Parliament as it stands today is not fully operational as a parliament.
“We are only here as an advisory body, it’s only about a year that we just had the opportunity of enhancing the parliament status.
“We now have the opportunity to make input and examine the budget as from 2019, and do some oversight functions.
“That is why you see that resolutions made here are not binding.
Hon. Lasun expressed fear that it may take a longer time before the parliament was accorded its deserved status, stating that the differences of language and democracies would pose a challenge to genuine integration.
However, the Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Mustapha Cisse-Lou, faulted Lasun’s perception, stating that the parliament had been very successful in fulfilling the responsibilities within its purview.
He, nonetheless, agreed that the harmonization of functions and powers of institutions in the commission needed urgent action, in the quest to improve socioeconomic growth in the region.
“Our resolutions are usually forwarded to the heads of states, we cannot tell them what to do but we make our decisions clear on matters”, he said.
The ongoing second ordinary session of the parliament has also called for the speedy passage of the commission’s 2019 budget.
The harmonization of functions within the regional body still remained a source of worry to some people who believed ECOWAS should be more visible among the people.
Enhancing the powers of the ECOWAS parliament and organs under it, dominated the floor at the second ordinary session of the ECOWAS parliament, sitting in Abuja.