Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, has grieved over the alarming rise in the number of deaths across the continent, with over 13,982 deaths.
At the virtual opening of the second extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament on Tuesday, Tunis said the figures in West Africa have continued to rise.
He added that as at July 16th, 2020, African countries recorded a total infection rate of 643, 887.
He also said Africa recorded 332, 888 recoveries and 13,982 deaths, while in West Africa, figures for the same day indicated that total confirmed cases stood at 100,900, total recoveries were 61, 326 and total deaths were 1,642.
According to him, “These figures appear gloomy and disturbing for us, especially since we operate our economies based on daily earning. Consequently, measures put in place, specifically the lockdowns to limit the free spread of the virus were unsustainable.”
“Our people can simply not bear the burden of perpetual lockdown of economic activities with their attendant effects on their daily subsistence.”
Tunis further stated that the parliament is impressed by the measures taken by Heads of State, both collectively and individually to address the spread of the virus and provide palliatives for the people.
He noted that the conduct of the summit was an evidence of the commitment of the Heads of State, not only towards protecting the people against infection, but bringing an early end to the pandemic.
He said, “It also provided an avenue for them to exchange ideas on measures to be adopted to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic.”
“As part of their focus on the pandemic, the Heads of State unanimously appointed His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Region’s Champion on COVID-19.”
“I am happy to announce that His Excellency had since begun discharging his assignment, holding meetings with several stakeholders.”
He added that the picture of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is not entirely gloomy, as doctors in Africa and even around the world are working tooth and nail in finding a cure or a possible vaccine to the deadly virus.
According to him, “Admittedly, infection rates are growing daily and deaths are still being recorded from complication associated with the virus. Furthermore, the world is yet to find neither a cure nor a vaccine for the virus.”
“In the course of treating patients, however, our dedicated medical personnel are continuously learning the behavior of the virus. Across the globe, our sub region inclusive, Doctors are becoming more familiar with the nature of complications that lead to death. Consequently, they are working towards ensuring that they treat symptoms as they appear.”
“They have also identified certain existing drugs meant for other ailments to assist in limit damages to infected patients. With this continuous knowledge of the behavior of the virus, Doctors are optimistic that death rates of infected patients will reduce in the next coming months, since there would be improved management.”
Tunis further appealed to Head of States and citizens, to treat health protocols laid down by health professionals, which include; regular washing of hands, use of hand sanitizers, observing social distancing, with a sense of responsibility. “These non-pharmaceutical measures will immensely assist in limiting the spread of the virus and hence accelerate our transition away from the pandemic. We should encourage our people to help themselves and not rely on the Government for a daily reminder of the safety protocols.”
“The period of this pandemic has remained a trying period for us all. Its psychological effects on individuals are really enormous, as most people are living in anxious moments. People are unable to return to their normal lives and are under the threat of being infected daily. The economic effects are yet to be determined, since the pandemic is still raging. I am, however, hopeful that with collaboration and togetherness, we shall come out free and tell the story one day,” he stated.
Also speaking, President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Edward Asante, expressed deep concerns over non-referrals from the Courts of Member States. Asante lamented that the Court has never in its history received any referrals from any Member State emphasizing that these referrals help in strengthening and development of community law. Edward said, “Just like the Parliament, the Court also has the power to entertain referrals under its original mandate as the principal legal organ of the Community.”
“In this role, the Court is required to ensure the observance of law and the principles of equity in the interpretation and application of the provisions of the 1993 Revised Treaty and all other subsidiary legal instruments of the Community.”
“Under Article 10 of the Protocol on the Court, it is vested with the power to issue in advisory capacity, a legal opinion on matters that require the interpretation of the provisions of the Treaty, in this way; it contributes to the prevention of conflicts or disputes as to the interpretation of the provisions of the treaty.”