The President of Senegal, Mr. Macky Sall has called on ECOWAS member states to facilitate the repatriation of its citizens being trafficked in Libya.
Mr. Sall made the call at the 2017 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
He emphasized the need for ECOWAS member states to enhance collaboration towards the fight against illegal migration, human trafficking, and modernized slavery.
President Sall also called on all African governments to put measures in place to ensure perpetrators of such acts were brought to book.
“It is a pure form of violation of human rights that should not go unpunished; these acts should be brought before the international court to dismantle clandestine networks,” according to President Sall.
“The African Union should sanction such illegal trade of people and the President of the ECOWAS Court should engage in coordinated action to repatriate, without further delay, African citizens in Libya,” he said.
President Sall said that Senegal, in its struggle against such clandestine acts, has repatriated 2, 480 citizens from Libya.
He also said that they would address the issues of human trafficking at the forthcoming fifth African Union – European Union summit holding in Abidjan from November 29 to 30, this year.
Libya has reportedly been a transit and is a destination country for men and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.
President Sall also called on member states and all ECOWAS institutions to facilitate the implementation of protocols that would remove barriers to integration and enhance development.
“The common market should become a reality and work more to lift all these obstacles.
“When we talk about development, we should be in the forefront; we cannot continue to count on foreigners for our development and we should apply decisions that do with our community’s development.”
In his address at the event, the President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki has urged West African governments to work together to find common solutions to address challenges facing the region.
The Senate President, who was represented by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, called on the parliament to maximise its enhanced mandate to resolving challenges in line with the ECOWAS Vision 2020.
“l urge you to seize the opportunity of the newly acquired, and hard-won, legislative powers of this assembly to defeat forces that militate against the peace and development of West Africa.
“Let us never lose sight of the need to find African solutions to African problems.
“The sooner we can deliver the Vision 2020 that will birth an ‘ECOWAS of the People’, the sooner we will restore hope to the West African citizenry.”
Mr. Saraki also assured of Nigeria’s continued contribution to ensuring sustained development in West Africa.
“Already, we are looking to amend the necessary laws that will smooth the path to elections of Nigeria’s 35 representatives in the Community Parliament. “
Speaker of the parliament, Moustapha Cissé Lo, said that that the parliament was committed to sensitizing citizens to the mandate of the regional bloc.
The 2017 Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament, would for the first time, consider the Community Budget after the enhancement of the powers of the regional parliament by ECOWAS Heads of States and government.
– Adoba Echono I Abuja I VON