The first call for a West African community was made by President William Tubman of Liberia in 1964 but his efforts stranded several years later.
April 1972, General Gowon of Nigeria and General Eyadema of Togo re-launched the idea. Finally in 1975, fifteen West African countries signed the treaty for an Economic Community of West African States (Treaty of Lagos).
The protocols launching ECOWAS were signed in Lomé, Togo, on 5 November 1976 and in 1977 Cape Verde joined ECOWAS, while in 2002 Mauritania withdrew from the Community. The Treaty of Lagos was revised in Cotonou on 24 July 1993, towards a looser collaboration.
In 2000 the ECOWAS nations signed a non-aggression protocol and a Protocol on Mutual Defense Assistance which subsequently lead to the establishment of an Allied Armed Force of the Community.
Ecowas Parliament has 115 seats, which are distributed among the 15 Ecowas Member States on the basis of their population. A General Secretariat, under the authority of the Speaker of Parliament, is responsible for the administration of Parliament. The Ecowas head office is in Lome, whilst Abuja has a permanent office, where the Ecowas Community Court of Justice is also established.
Lome is, thanks to Ecowas one of the best connected African capitals by air to all membership states thanks to daily flight of ASKY, a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines.
The Head office of Ecowas in Lome, is a a true African Architectural edifice, with its combination of modern African architecture, a high rise part (13 floors) and its dome in the inner court, just behind the Boulevard de la Marina along the ocean at the Bight of Benin.