Hard times hit ECOWAS Court

Posted by News Express | 30 June 2016 | 1,900 times

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The recent disclosure by the Vice President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Micah Wright, that one of the impediments that the court was facing was insufficient fund for its operation due to non-payment of levy by member states, has fueled speculations on the indefinite adjournment of the case filed by former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.), against the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“The court and by extension the entire community is facing financial difficulties where member states are not paying up the community levy and that is the means of finance for all ECOWAS activities,” he said.

“The court is always at disadvantage when the funds are being distributed. But we have to take more initiatives to impress it upon the commission the mandate of the court is of such that the court is alone.

“The court cannot source external funding like the commission or like other institutions. We don’t want to compromise our independence and neutrality by going out to seek donor funding.”

At another occasion, the President of ECOWAS, Mr. Marcel De Souza, had expressed frustration over the paucity of fund being experienced by the commission.

De Souza, spoke when he led a delegation from the commission to a courtesy visit on the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim. He appealed to Nigeria and other member states to rescue the commission by paying up their outstanding levies.

“The community levy which represents 90 percent of our funding is no longer regularly paid by most member states; Nigeria is not alone in this regard, also Cote d’Ivoire...

“We see that the greatest challenge lies with Nigeria. Nigeria owes $694,000 because there was no payment made between 2015 and 2016.

“Because of the debt burden it carries, ECOWAS is now losing its credibility,” the president said. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari had assured of Nigeria’s continued commitment to meet all her obligations to the ECOWAS Commission. President Buhari made the pledged last month (May 27, 2016) while receiving De Souza at the State House, Abuja.

The President told the ECOWAS delegation that “the Federal Government of Nigeria would strive to show good example by meeting all its financial obligations to the sub-regional organisation.” (PRNigeria)

•Photo shows ECOWAS President Marcel De Souza.

Source: News Express

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