NIGERIA RELATIONS WITH ECOWAS

The current security challenges facing Nigeria has made the pursuit of integration agenda and programmes of ECOWAS, including issues of regional peace and security in its member states, a matter of top priority. Consequently, Nigeria has deepened and strengthened itsengagements with  the neighbouring countries and member states of the ECOWAS in the areas of security and economic cooperation.

      Within the last year, Nigeria has hosted two National Approval Committee Meetings on ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) for Nigerian Companies applying for approval to export their products to ECOWAS Member States' Market. 46 Nigeria Companies and 88 products were granted approvals and the ECOWAS Commission has since been requested to register the companies and products under ETLS.

On the political front, Nigeria chaired the ECOWAS meetings of the Authority of Heads of State and Government. Nigeria, being the Chairman of the Authority up to February 2012, hosted a summit in February this year. President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan successfully handed over the leadership of the Authority to his Cote D'Ivoire counterpart, President Dr. Alassane Ouattara.

During President Jonathans tenure, ECOWAS witnessed the use of Supplementary Acts as against the signing of Agreements and Conventions which require ratification by the National Assembly of Member States before coming into force, In the case of Supplementary Acts, member states are bound to implement their texts without ratification by their respective Parliaments.

The unconstitutional change of Government in Mali created crises of note in the sub-region, it puts to test the belief that change of government in the sub-region through unorthodox means was a thing of the past. The coup led by a US trained Malian Army mid-level officer, Captain Sanogo took over the reins of government on the excuse that the elected government of President Toumani Toure was not able to supply arms and amrnunition required to prosecute the War against the rampaging Tuaregs in Northern Mali who have engaged the Malian Government in a war for the independence of the Azawad State. The Tuaregs were in partnership with an Al-Qacda offshoot called Ansarrdine who are clamouring for the enthronement of Sharia laws in Ma1i.

It took the intervention of ECOWAS mediation efforts led by Presidents Blaise Campaore and .Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) and threat of intervention

before the junta reluctantly agreed to a Transitional Government headed by the Former National Assembly Speaker Mr. Dioncunda

Traore. The transition government will be in place for 12 months. ECOWAS  is sending 3000 troops to Mali,to help train the Malian Military, support institutions'and contain the Tuareg secessionists in Northern Mali.

  Nigerian-ECOWAS National Unit undertook sensitization exercises in the six State capitals in the six geopolitical zones of the country, namely Dutse, Jigawa State, Lafia. Nassarawa State, Enugu. Enugu State, Gombe State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Nigerians were sensitized on "The implications of climate change on Human  Security and Integration process is West Africa: Issues and lessons for Nigeria. Responses from the stakeholders were impressive.

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