Twitter Facebook Youtube
ECOWAS, F.E.S. emphasize role of the media in west African integration

PIC. 1


The role of the media in bringing the positive impact of the integration activities of ECOWAS to the doorsteps of citizens of West Africa is of more importance today than ever before. This position was strongly echoed at the “Get to Know ECOWAS” Training for journalists which began on the 30th of May 2016 in Abuja.

The study tour and training programme is organized by the Communication Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). The idea is to create a pool of well-informed media practitioners who would act as catalysts to bridge the information and awareness gap between ECOWAS and the citizens of West Africa while leveraging on the strategic importance of the media to ensure that milestones of ECOWAS are brought closer to the people.

Welcoming journalists from the West African region to the programme on behalf of His Excellency Marcel Alain de Souza, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the ECOWAS Director of Communication Mrs. Sandra Oulate Fattoh Elleingand stressed the imperativeness of having a crop of better informed journalists about ECOWAS and its institution towards the envisaged greater integration of the area, with an ECOWAS of the people in sight by 2020

Speaking on The Role of Communication Directorate in Creating Awareness Amongst the Citizens of The ECOWAS Community Mrs. Fattoh Elleigand said the Abuja study tour and training programme presents an ample opportunity to discuss mutual interest of the practitioners, ECOWAS Commission and the people of West Africa in general.

She said that it is gratifying that the agenda covers a wide range of interesting items having to do with the operations and programmes of ECOWAS and as they relate to the specific needs of the people of the region.

The Resident Representative, FES Nigeria Madam Seija Sturies maintained that the FES which has been involved in the development process in Nigeria since 1976, is now actively engaged in the promotion of participatory democracy. The focus she said, has become necessary because “without information this will just be a façade”

PIC. 16 (2)

Madam Sturies further disclosed that the collaboration with ECOWAS also stems from the fact that FES is a German organization that is committed to the values of social democracy and is collaborating in Nigeria with different stakeholders such as human rights and civil society organisations, the Parliament, as well as Trade Unions

The citizens of West Africa, she continued, deserve to know about the policies and programmes of those that are at the helm of affairs just as they deserve to contribute if need be to the decisions that directly affect them “and the onus is on the media to bring information to citizens”

Making reference to several ECOWAS integration programmes and provisions such as the one on Free Movement of Goods, Persons and Services, she noted that it has become necessary to find out how many of traders in the region are aware of the provisions as they operate across the border whereas, making such information available at the community level can help change some of the practices, and then facilitates and accelerate regional integration and development.

PIC. 10 (2)The German ambassador to Nigeria Michael Zenner maintained that the collaborative effort at bringing about greater awareness of the ECOWAS achievements and prospects stems from the recognition that trans-national problems cannot be solved by one nation alone just as the commitment of ECOWAS to integration, stability and collective security can help to foster public trust among member nations.

Stressing that the task at hand was to sensitise journalists on their role in the actualisation of ECOWAS vision, he said the huge expectations after the study tour is for the journalists to explain the ECOWAS Community programmes to the people, how it works and who it works for knowing that it is only by working together that Ambassador Zenner added that we can build a west African house strong enough to withstand the storms of the future.

During the Get to Know ECOWAS Opening-Day session, a fifteen-minute documentary also featured as well as power point presentations on The History of ECOWAS and Role of ECOWAS in Ensuring Peace and Stability in West Africa.


Share on :

Twitter Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Youtube Instgram