ECOWAS Parliament addresses the Regional Court on the crisis in Mali | The Guardian Nigeria News

Nigerians warn of danger of undemocratic alternatives
As the political crisis in Mali escalates into a full-fledged military government, some stakeholders have warned of the danger of slipping into undemocratic alternatives in Nigeria due to rising lawlessness and violence. To express its dissatisfaction with the development of Mali, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday announced its decision to exclude the country from the regional body.

As the heads of state and government of ECOWAS met in Ghana to decide the fate of Mali, the head of the military junta, Colonel Assimi Goita effectively assumed the leadership of the country’s transitional government. To rub salt on the wound, Mali’s Supreme Court on the same day affirmed Goita’s leadership, fueling criticism across the region.

Following the expulsion, the ECOWAS Parliament has now turned to the Community Court of Justice to find out whether members of Mali’s National Transitional Council elected to represent the country in the regional parliament should be sworn in. Lawsuit No .: ECW / CCJ / ADV: OPN / 01/21, Parliament asks the Court to interpret Articles 18.1 (g) and 18.2 (a and b) of the Supplement relating to the strengthening of the powers of Parliament, which concern the status of members appointed from the transitional parliaments of the member states.

A panel of three judges from the ECOWAS Court led by Hon. Judge Edward Amoako Asante began yesterday, May 31, 2021, the hearing of the application entitled “Interpretation of the Complementary Act” and signed by the President of the ECOWAS Parliament, the Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis.

The request relates to a letter dated January 7, 2021 from the president of the National Transitional Council (CNT) of Mali, which acts as the country’s parliament, transmitting the list of six members elected during the plenary session of the CNT on January 5, 2021 as the country’s representatives in the ECOWAS Parliament.

In the request dated March 29, 2021, the speaker acknowledged that the CNT was an organ of the transitional government of Mali, which had been recognized by the ECOWAS Community, the African Union and the international community. He said the CNT serves as an interim parliament that would vote on political, institutional, electoral and administrative reforms leading to the return to constitutional order as provided for in their Transitional Charter. He also argued that according to the Additional Act Relating to the Strengthening of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament, new members must be sworn in before taking office as members of the ECOWAS Parliament.

He also stated that Article 18 (a) of the Additional Act provided that representatives of the ECOWAS Parliament “shall be elected by direct universal suffrage by the citizens of the member states”.

It is in this context that the President asks the tribunal to determine and rule whether the members of the CNT elected in plenary session in January 2021 to represent Mali in the ECOWAS Parliament can be considered as members of the ECOWAS Parliament and lend oath. The other members of the panel are the Hon. Justice Dupe Atoki and the Hon. Judge Janvier Costa.

Responding to the development, Ngozi Olehi, a lawyer, said it was futile to see a country sink into political and economic failure before regional and / or international intervention manifested itself. According to him, it is worse if the only thing that can be done is the suspension of the country from the body. Such a suspension, he said, leaves citizens at the mercy of the junta and the consequences of the aberration.

He said: “I know this is bothering about the doctrine of sovereignty, but the events in Mali, just like in Nigeria, where the citizens are helpless and abandoned to a ‘democratic government’ which has no idea and no program. credible to stop insecurity and insane bloodshed, the international community, be it ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) or the United Nations (UN) should intervene even if it means asking for the resignation of the incumbent.

“The doctrine of sovereignty should be reviewed so that it is not the basis for non-intervention when a government has shown a lack of capacity to govern. Nigeria is an example. The suspension of Mali is of no use.

Former President of the Campaign for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) Malachy Ugwummadu, who is a lawyer, believes Nigeria is gravitating towards the Malian experience. He explained that this may not have been in the form of a military insurrection and counter-coups, but of a people’s revolution.

His words: “I think the Nigerian political situation is getting closer; we are almost at the last bus stop before the anarchy. Incidents of violence are no longer perpetuated against the poor and oppressed in this country, but members of the ruling elite are now targets. More fundamentally, it is the observation that government institutions, from police to military installations and INEC offices across the country, are now affected.

“This particular strategy of targeting government institutions is a very dangerous way to delegitimize the state itself and if you check the reaction of the leaders of these institutions, especially the Nigerian police, you will find that the coercive forces are practically overwhelmed. . . If an Inspector General of Police ordered his men and officers to defend themselves against observing the etiquette of police operations, as enshrined in their regulations, the institution would appear to be overwhelmed. “

The lawyer warned that the execution of the IGP instruction was leading to an escalation of violence, butchery and massacres, as witnessed by the whole country, especially in the southeast at this time. Ugwummadu insisted that the way forward is to constructively engage, persuade and reorient those who are willing to take a violent approach.

But Dr Odiyovwi Osusu, also a lawyer, said that although Nigeria is on the verge of anarchy, it would be difficult for the military to take control of the country as witnessed by Mali due to the massive retreat looming. in the army occasioned by the appointment of the Army Chief of Staff. According to him, the situation in Mali is in fact a consequence of political instability. He urged other African countries not to take inspiration from Mali’s military junta.

Elna M. Lemons