August 3, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

Africa's Media Giant

ECOWAS Parliament mourns 1,600 victims of COVID-19

ECOWAS Parliament has commiserated with families of more than 1,600 community citizens claimed by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

 

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

As its Second Extra-Ordinary Session openes via video conferencing, ECOWAS Parliament has commiserated with families of more than 1,600 community citizens claimed by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaker of the parliament, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis, in an address to declare the session open, prayed for the repose of the souls of Community Citizens claimed by the pandemic.

The Speaker who also dialed in through the newly set-up video conference platform of the Parliament, noted that the virtual meetings was now the new normal for the Parliament.

He said that Members of Parliament had sworn to continue to represent the people and as such could not be hindered by the limitation of physical meetings imposed by the pandemic.

“To all families that lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic, I wish to use this medium to convey to you our condolences and pray for the souls of all victims. May you all have the fortitude to bear the losses.

“May we see an immediate end to the current pandemic, so that together we shall achieve a West Africa of our dreams.

“As Members of Parliament, we have sworn to represent people of the sub-region and to contribute toward improving their standard of living.

“We are going to continue to strive to do so, even with the limitations imposed on us by the prevailing situation,” he said.

Giving statistics on the effects of the Pandemic, the Speaker said that the pandemic had dealt a heavy blow on World citizens and economies, with African nations also having their share of the ravaging effects.

He noted that infection rates and death tolls had also been estimated to rise in the coming months, adding to the 100,900 cases already recorded in West Africa as at July 16 and 1,642 deaths.

He said that although the figures might appear gloomy, Heads of State of West African nations must be commended for their undaunting efforts at mitigating the effects of the pandemic in the sub-region.

Sidie said that although the lockdown were necessary, the perpetual lockdown of economic activities could not be sustained by the communities or its citizens.

“As a Parliament, we are impressed by the measures taken by our Heads of State, both collectively and individually to address the spread of the virus and to provide palliatives for the people.

“I was honoured to have been invited to attend the virtual Extra Ordinary summit of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on COVID-19 held on April 22.

“The conduct of the summit was an evidence of the commitment of the Heads of State, not only toward protecting the people against infection, but bringing an early end to the pandemic,” he said.

The speaker noted that Parliament and all community citizens must adhere with the new protocols on COVID-19 to mitigate its spread, stressing,  however, that the World could not remain perpetually bound.

“There is indeed a new normal around the globe, which everyone must respond to. We as an Institution have no option but to abide by it for as long as it remains unsafe to meet physically.

“I am, however, quick to add that Parliaments cannot perpetually hold their activities virtually.

“The task of representing the people, embarking on oversight functions, conducting parliamentary interpellation and providing a voice for the voiceless is beyond holding virtual meetings.

“We as a Parliament will do our best to discharge our functions online, but will revert back to our physical meetings once the situation permits,” he said. (NAN)

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