ECOWAS President, Kadre Ouedraogo
President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Kadre Ouedraogo, yesterday, recounted the efforts made by the regional body to curb insecurity in West Africa, particularly, the Boko Haram menace.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 10th annual ECOWAS development partners coordination meeting in Abuja, Ouedraogo said peace and stability were prerequisite to economic development, adding that stabilizing the region, ensuring peace and stability and security, placed top on the agenda of the commission.
He said ECOWAS had overcome many crises in the sub-region, including the hostilities in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Ouedraogo said: “All these were very important crises that ECOWAS managed to overcome with our regional mechanism for conflict prevention and conflict resolution.
“We have also our protocol on democracy and good governance and recently, ECOWAS has adopted the counter-terrorism strategy, which was approved in February 2013, designed to help our region combat terrorism and organized crime.
“Since this strategy, we have been meeting. The chiefs of intelligence service of ECOWAS member states met severally in Accra, and there was an extraordinary summit devoted to the situation in the northern part of Nigeria and the northern part of Mali on May 30 in Accra.
“This summit came up with far-reaching decisions which we are implementing to ensure peace and stability in our region. But we believe that terrorism cannot be overcome by one country alone. It has to be a regional approach and this is where ECOWAS comes in, trying to coordinate the action of member states to face the scourge of insurgency in our sub-region.”
On the possibility of ending the insurgency soon, particularly the activities of Boko Haram, Ouedraogo said the region should not expect a world where there would not be any security threat.
He, however, said ECOWAS would have to curtail the menace to its barest minimum, stressing that the objectives of ECOWAS include not to let the insurgents destabilise countries in the sub-region and not to allow the insurgents to attempt the security and peace of the population of the sub-region.
Meanwhile, the European Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Michel Arrion, has said closing the regional borders was not a solution to containing the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Arrion, in his keynote address at the meeting, warned that West Africa faces an extremely dangerous threat to public health and security with the scourge of Ebola.
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