The ECOWAS Commission has officially unveiled an Operational Manual for use by National Offices to engage Member States in the effective implementation and monitoring of community programmes and activities at national level.
The Vice President of the commission, Dr. Toga Gayewea McIntosh, made the remark in Accra, Ghana, at the closing ceremony of a three-day meeting of Heads of ECOWAS National Offices.
The statement was made available, on Sunday, in Abuja.
According to him, thee Operational Manual was adopted with a view of harmonising the structures, enhancing the performance and ensuring effective monitoring of the implementation of ECOWAS programmes at the national level.
He urged the participants to make effective use of the manual, adopted by the 71st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in December 2013, to drive the regional integration process.
The vice president mentioned the celebration of the ECOWAS 40th Anniversary, this year, which, he said would involve honouring the vision of the founding fathers and raising awareness on the achievements of the regional organisation created in May 1975.
To this end, he said the commission would organize a series of events, and produce documentaries coupled with publicity campaigns across the region.
The chair of the ECOWAS National Offices, Mrs.Sena Siaw-Boateng, of Ghana, emphasised the need for Member States to raise their level of cooperation in support of regional integration efforts.
“This Manual is crucial in the sense that it will regulate the conduct of affairs of our National Offices, especially in the discharge of the mandate of the Office and the utilization of the subvention allocated to promote integration programmes in our respective countries.” she affirmed.
The ECOWAS Director for External Relations, Dr. Jonas Hemou identified “Coordination, Communication and Continuity” as three key factors that will mitigate challenges and enhance the implementation of the Operational Manual.
He urged National Offices to take ownership of the commission’s new website by working with the Communication Directorate to enrich the web content and data on regional integration programmes and activities, and boost the organization’s visibility.
The Heads of ECOWAS National offices meet annually to share experiences and discuss progress on regional integration programmes. The Accra meeting featured reports on the Operational Manual.
Participants also shared experiences on preparations for the ECOWAS 40th Anniversary celebrations in Member States, including planned essay competitions, cultural events, community development and environmental programmes, among others.
“IPOB is being sponsored by those I will call the Coalition of the politically disgruntled and the treasury looters. They believe that by sponsoring this group to destabilize the country and trigger chaos, they will realize their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.”
-Lai Mohammed(Nigeria’s Information Minister on IPOB)
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