ECOWAS Female lawmakers elect President

Members of ECOWAS Parliament seated with some empty seats mostly belonging to absent Nigerian MPs
ECOWAS Parliament

By Temitope Ponle

The ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA) has elected Filomena Martins of Cabo Verde as president replacing Sen. Stella Oduah of Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Oduah’s two-year tenure, which began in May 2016, expired in May 2018.

The female parliamentarians, on the side lines of the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, elected Martins on Dec. 3 for a two-year tenure.

In an interview with newsmen on Tuesday, the president said the action of the new bureau would focus on education of children and training of women for empowerment.

“The new Bureau is going to meet and come up with an action plan for its term of office and beginning of implementation.

“Our first action incidentally, is going to take place in Cabo Verde, because in February next year, the ECOWAS Parliament is going to have an Extraordinary Session in Cabo Verde.

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“We will meet with Cabo Verdean women and sensitise them to equality, laws and all the other matters that concern them; that is the first activity that ECOFEPA is going to carry out,” she said

The ECOFEPA had in recent times criticised the poor representation of female parliamentarians in national parliaments in the region.

In its recent ECOFEPA Regional Membership Scorecard of Feb. 2018, only 334 female parliamentarians out of 2,385 parliamentarians in the region were recorded, making it a 14 per cent representation.

She said the association would continue to sensitise member states to appreciate the need to enforce legislation that would enhance female representation in the region.

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“What we are going to do is that we are going to work with national parliaments to ensure that they all have laws and pass legislation on gender parities.

“There are certain countries that don’t have any laws on gender parities at the moment; some have given 30 per cent to women and others have given 50 per cent.

“What we want is that all parliaments in all member-countries at their next elections, women are on the list and they run for positions for which they can be elected.”

She added that the association would also work with organisations globally that supported activities on women. (NAN)

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