Accra, 13th March 2018: The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) has hosted a three-day dialogue and experience sharing workshop for selected elected representatives of the Ghanaian and Nigerian Parliaments.
The workshop was to enable the Honourable Members of the National Assembly of Nigeria and the Parliament of Ghana to exchange best practices on parliamentary oversight of the security sector. Dubbed, “Exchange of Good Practices on Legislative Oversight”, the workshop was jointly organised by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF), and the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC).
Mr. Brian Acheampong, Minister of State from Ghana, noted that, unlike in the past when authoritarian and military rule suppressed and disrupted the growth of African Parliaments, Parliaments in most African countries today enjoy some stability as they seek to grow the collective democracy in Africa.
The Minister cautioned policy makers and legislators, to develop appropriate skills and competencies needed to support security agencies; this, he said, was necessary due to the fast changing security environment in Africa.
“This Parliamentary exchange programme will further strengthen our resolve to consolidate democracy and Rule of Law and inspire us in the 2001 ECOWAS Parliamentary Protocol on Democracy and the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance” he said.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Olufemi Abikoye in his remarks, indicated that security has become increasingly important with the proliferation of insurgent and terrorist groups globally.
“In the wake of increasing attacks by these elements globally and at home, it is imperative that action is taken to strengthen our security sector in order to respond to these growing challenges”, he added.
The High Commissioner emphasised that the exchange visit was therefore timely and important, as it was a useful opportunity for discussions and experience sharing between Ghanaian and Nigerian Parliamentarians on how they perform their legislative roles and on how best they can work to improve on it.
“The legislature is a key arm of government and being able to learn from other legislators in similar climes and exchange experiences is important in improving capacity and advancing existing legislative efforts”, he stressed.
He revealed that “when faced with national security issues, it is important that our parliamentarians and politicians have the tools to respond effectively to these challenges, and that the public also has confidence in their capacity to do same”.
The Commandant of KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshal Griffiths Evans, in his welcome address stated that “our quest to build safer and more reliant societies in the continent will come to nothing if we fail to share experiences and harness our collective effort at overcoming our regional security threats which are in turn changing rapidly”.
The Head of Sub Saharan African Division of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, Dr. Sandy Africa, stated that democracy is an incomplete project that requires constant renewal.
She underscored the fact that oversight systems play an very significant role in defining the legacy of a parliament, and was very elated that DCAF is supporting the process of instituting these systems.
Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, mentioned that the role of every legislature is vital, especially in implementing laws and executing policies in ensuring that security agencies are functioning properly.
The KAIPTC is a renowned institution built upon Ghana’s experience in peacekeeping operations. It is an excellent place for legislators to gain further knowledge on oversight of security sector related agencies, some of which participate in peacekeeping missions.