(Keffi, Nigeria, March 30, 2019:) Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to ECOWAS in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, have expressed confidence that their statutory roles in the affairs of the sub-regional body will be strengthened.
A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the ECOWAS Ambassadors and High Commissioners, otherwise referred to as the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC), expressed the confidence as they ended a two-day retreat over the weekend.
The retreat, which held from Friday to Saturday, the 29th and the 30th of March, 2019, took place in Keffi, Nasarawa State, under the theme, “The Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) as a Catalyst for Implementing the Economic Development, Regional Integration and Post Vision 2020 Programs of ECOWAS.”
According to the dispatch, the retreat aimed to reflect on the roles that the Ambassadors and High Commissioners play at ECOWAS, while they “determine to strengthen their participation in the activities” of various ECOWAS institutions.
The two-day retreat also aimed, among others, to “brief incoming Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Member States about ECOWAS, norms, programs, institutional reforms, and activities of Community institutions, hold conversations about ECOWAS National Offices and Community Institutions as a familiarization session of their plans and objectives and how members of the PRC can be of assistance in achieving their set targets based on measurable indices.”
In his welcome remarks, Amb. Babatunde A. Nurudeen, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the ECOWAS Commission and the Chair of the PRC, stated that the retreat was meant to also reflect on how to strengthen the PRC’s capacity in working effectively with the ECOWAS Commission and other Community institutions and agencies in order to prepare for the yearly statutory meetings of ECOWAS.
“Indeed, this retreat is coming at the right time, when the need for synergy and collaboration between the PRC and the ECOWAS Commission is crucial for our sub-regional development in all spheres. I am happy to note that the relations between the two bodies are on a very high pedestal, but there is always room for more improvement”, Ambassador Nurudeen remarked.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Honorable Geoffrey Onyeama, in his goodwill message, praised the PRC for its active roles in the activities of ECOWAS.
“In particular, I am fully aware that the PRC has contributed enormously to deliberations on peace and security in the West African sub-region, notably in major flash points. Indeed, the contributions of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC) at the Ambassadorial level to the Ministerial Level have formed the bedrock of the recommendations of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at the Ministerial Level to the Authority of Heads of State and Government”, the dispatch quotes Minister Onyeama as saying.
The Nigerian Foreign Minister then urged the ECOWAS Permanent Representatives to convince their respective Governments to ratify some of the key pending protocols and agreements which he identified as one of the setbacks of ECOWAS.
Also making remarks was the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou who in his goodwill message emphasized the need for a deepened relation between the PRC and the ECOWAS Commission.
“The outcome of this retreat would reinforce the need to enhance the capacity of the ECOWAS Ambassadors. This retreat comes as ECOWAS prepares for developing post-2020 Vision in which regard your views and input in shaping that vision would be very much valued and welcome” a representative stated on behalf of the ECOWAS President.
During the closing ceremony on Saturday, March 30, 2019, the Chair of the PRC and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Ambassador Nurudeen appreciated his counterparts for their enormous contributions that made the retreat a success.
Speaking on behalf of the ECOWAS Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Ambassador Paulette Adjovi Yekpe of Benin Republic also expressed confidence that the PRC will be strengthened on playing its statutory roles in the affairs of ECOWAS by the outcomes and recommendations of the two-day retreat.
Since 2010 when the Authority of Heads of State conferred on them other responsibilities, the ECOWAS Ambassadors and High Commissioners have assisted with the production of reports on regional Peace, and Security, promoted cordial relations between Member States and ECOWAS institutions and have also contributed immensely to all matters pertaining the development of the Community in all spheres, the release concludes.