Freetown hosts last session of 5th ECOWAS Parliament

President Bio and Ecowas Members of Parliament at the opening ceremony of the session

By Alfred Koroma

President Bio has on Wednesday 31st January, opened the last session of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament.

The Parliament will hold its seminar for the next eight days, deliberating on issues around illegal mining and its implications on the ECOWAS Region.

Fighting illegal mining requires a concerted effort, the President said while opening the event at the Bintumani International Conference Center. He urged all policy makers to reflect and strengthen legal frameworks that address illegal mining and its root causes.

He said Sierra Leone is intensifying efforts to combat the activity and therefore called on other member states to step up efforts, emphasising that no single country can address the complex issues of illegal mining activities.

The seminar, which converged a bureau of Honourable Members, Management and Staff of the ECOWAS Parliament in Freetown, marked the final Parliamentary Seminar of the Fifth Legislature led by a Sierra Leonean,  Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis, who has served as Speaker of the Parliament in the last four years.

Making a statement at the event, Hon. Tunis said he found it befitting to dedicate the last Seminar of the Fifth Legislature to discuss illegal mining because of the threat the activity is posing to minerals and its far-reaching implications on the security, socioeconomic and environmental fabric of the region.

He said the mining sector has the potential to positively impact the lives of ECOWAS citizens, but illegal mining of the Community’s minerals has succeeded in depriving Member States of the much needed revenue to grow their economies and created instances of instability through banditry, kidnapping, thuggery and in some cases insurgency.

The complex interplay of security, social-economic dividends, environmental impacts on the soil and waters, have emerged as pressing concerns that demand immediate investigation and finding sustainable solutions, The revered Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament added.

“We expect that at the end of the seminar, we will have a greater appreciation of the regional mining frameworks and challenges to their implementation and make recommendations where regional collaboration can be fostered to boost the sector,” he said.


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