NIGERIAN President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the foundation of the new ECOWAS Headquarters Complex in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The ceremony which took place at the permanent site located in Lugbe along the Airport Road in Abuja, witnessed the presence of a high-powered delegation of African leaders.
In his speech during the ground-breaking ceremony, Buhari thanked the Chinese Government for donating the complex in support of the ECOWAS, noting that it will be a befitting edifice that will house the three major ECOWAS institutions – ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Parliament and the Community Court of Justice – in one building.
“We have waited for this day, since the 10th of July, 2019, when ECOWAS and the Peoples Republic of China signed an implementation agreement for this diplomatic gift to the West African States.
“This no doubt represents China’s commitment to our sub-regional organisation. It will be our home and a regional rallying point,” he said, adding that the complex will strengthen operationalisation of the regional institutions and foster regional integration.
Buhari further gave directives to the various ministries, departments and agencies under the Coordination of Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, to ensure smooth facilitation of the project.
The Nigerian government and ECOWAS Institutions in Abuja had agreed to consolidate ECOWAS operations in one complex, a departure from operating at three different locations, and the new complex is expected to be ready within the next 26 months.
“The Contractors have informed us that “The Eye of West Africa” will be ready in Twenty-Six Months. I have no doubt about their ability to deliver as promised. We look forward to its commissioning in February 2025, God – willing,” Buhari said.
Among delegates at the event were the President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio.
Others are: the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray; the Ambassador Representing the Government of Peoples Republic of China; Permanent Representatives and Members of Diplomatic Corps as well as Heads of ECOWAS Institutions, amongst others.