The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament
, Rt. Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis has tasked the ECOWAS Member States to deploy technology in curbing terrorism, insurgency, and transborder crimes.
He noted that as the region is currently being affected by waves of violent extremism and terrorism, humanitarian crises, and global pandemics, members of the ECOWAS Parliament must consider the imperative of the using latest technological advancements, innovations, and intelligence as viable tools to tackling insecurity.
The Speaker also disclosed that evidence shows that societies mired in violent conflict are often characterized by lack of development and shortage of economic opportunities.
“So, we must strive for the return of peace in our region as it remains the key component to sustainable development. As the world continues to witness innovations and changes in the ICT architecture, the judicial system and its policymakers now have the opportunity to bring justice, law, and order closer to the people.
Through the rapid development of Telecommunications and Information Technology.
Administration of justice can be improved and made effective for the smooth running of society.
“The digitization of legal systems is a development that has come to stay, and I have no doubt that if improved upon, life will be made easier for the people. This is because it stands to reason that peace can only prevail in a society that has justice and equity,” he said.
On elections, the Speaker said, “it is pertinent to consider the conduct of elections, which is the bedrock of democracy and good governance considering this digital age. Elections in the region continue to attract a lot of discussions. It is true that the Community is yet to attain the stature of most advanced democracies, where citizens express their rights through free and fair elections, thereby making their voices heard and their choices respected.
“Our systems are still in the infancy stage, and one major way to embrace rejuvenation is by ensuring that we roll out electoral reforms that can withstand the test of time. The successes we have garnered in recent years must be consolidated through effective counting and monitoring systems, which have been provided for by technology. To this end, beyond reforms, there must also be a system of accountability and redress that is void of violence and criminality”.
Hon. Tunis also said the internet and other digital technologies expand the frontiers of businesses and exchange, cyberspace-related crimes also increase.
He noted that there is a lot of danger if the sub-region does not have a harmonized system that ensures that cybercrimes of all sorts are not allowed to take place and in case they do, the system should have the mechanisms in place to thwart such criminalities.
“Whilst we crave and yearn for more advancement in digital transformation, we must equip IT, professionals and stakeholders, with necessary policies to improve the functioning and efficiency of administrations, public policies, and economies, as well as the well-being of our population,” he concluded.