Regional security tops agenda as ECOWAS Authorities meet in Nigeria
The 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened in Abuja, Nigeria on Saturday with regional security taking the front burner.
Chairman of the regional and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari used substantial portion of his opening remarks to state clearly that the region is in insecurity quagmire occasioned by herdsmen attack, Boko Haram and banditry.
Buhari called for regional cooperation now than ever before to help fight insecurity.
“Despite the overall appreciable progress we have made, particularly in the field of political governance, our sub-region continues to face considerable security challenges. We are all witnesses to the recurring incidents of inter-communal clashes, herders-farmers conflicts, banditry and terrorist attacks in all our countries.
“These threats, you will agree with me, have consequences on the peaceful co-existence between our communities and peoples as well as their livelihoods.
This unrest also undermines all our efforts in achieving full regional integration. It is, therefore, necessary that we act collectively to end this menace in the interest of regional stability and wellbeing of our people”. Buhari said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the security situation in Guinea Bissau is also a major issue in the agenda.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau was inaugurated in April 2012 with the aim of stabilising the ongoing political turmoil in that country.
To this effect, the 39th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff reviewed its peace support operations, including the mission in Guinea Bissau, and made recommendations to the Authority.
According to the Draft Work Programme, the meeting will consider the reports of the 42nd Ordinary Meeting of the Mediation and Security Council and the 82nd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers.
The 42nd Ordinary Meeting of the Mediation and Security Council held in Abuja on June 24 deliberated on ways to improve the security situation of the region.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, during the meeting, stated that insecurity was the greatest challenge facing the region and hampering economic, social and human advancements.
The 82nd Session of the Council of Ministers also during its meeting held on June 27 in Abuja discussed the numerous challenges confronting the region and how to confront them as a community.
The meeting would also consider the ECOWAS single currency, youth empowerment, climate change and other threats facing the region.
Highlights of the summit would include the presentation of the ECOWAS 2018 Award of Excellence considered during the 82nd session of the Council of Ministers.
Read full text of Buhari’s speech here.
It is with great pleasure that I warmly welcome you to Abuja on behalf of the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the occasion of the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
- To my colleagues, let me again reiterate my deep appreciation for the confidence placed on me to lead our sub-regional organization, as Chair of the Authority during the last one year. I sincerely thank you for the valuable support extended to me throughout the period.
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
- As West African leaders, we are delighted with the platform provided by our organization to hold regular consultations. We also note with satisfaction the effective functioning of our Institutions which further bind us together as member states.
- The fact that we have reconvened here today, to discuss developments in our sub-region, bears testimony to our sustained commitment to the consolidation of our integration as a Community. I acknowledge and commend the giant strides made by ECOWAS in this regard.
- I also commend our individual and collective efforts towards the promotion of good governance, peace, stability and socio-economic development in our sub-region. We must remain focused on our collective endeavour to make the sub-region an area of peace and security.
- This is an essential prerequisite if we are to attain the primary objective of our organization which is, to “promote cooperation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic and monetary union in West Africa, in order to raise the living standards of its people and contribute to the progress and development of the African continent”.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
- Despite the overall appreciable progress we have made, particularly in the field of political governance, our sub-region continues to face considerable security challenges. We are all witnesses to the recurring incidents of inter-communal clashes, herders-farmers conflicts, banditry and terrorist attacks in all our countries.
- These threats, you will agree with me, have consequences on the peaceful co-existence between our communities and peoples as well as their livelihoods.
- This unrest also undermines all our efforts in achieving full regional integration. It is, therefore, necessary that we act collectively to end this menace in the interest of regional stability and wellbeing of our people.
- Let me offer, on behalf of all of us, our sincere sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, banditry and inter-communal clashes perpetrated by some misguided elements in our societies. We shall not relent in our efforts to protect our peace loving people and their properties, while vigorously sustaining the war against terrorism and criminality.
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
- Taking into account the transnational nature of the threats confronting us, the need for the adoption of a common strategy at the national and regional level to combat them, has become imperative. By so doing, we will reinforce our actions and resources for a more effective response to protect our citizens and secure our common space.
- While I acknowledge that several initiatives and measures have been taken in our respective countries recent developments have shown that we must cooperate more effectively to achieve our goals.
- We should send a strong and unified message to the perpetrators of violence that we are resolute in our collective determination to confront and defeat them.
- I would like to renew our gratitude to all our colleagues who have skilfully conducted the political mediation missions we entrusted to them.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
- As we strive to create a secure, stable and prosperous environment in West Africa, we must also intensify our efforts to ensure sustainable economic and social development in our sub-region. By doing so, we will be able to tackle poverty and youth unemployment and contribute to our sustained stability.
- Several issues relating to different policies, programmes and projects are itemized for discussion during today’s meeting.
- As is our custom, the 55th ordinary session will also consider these matters from the reports on today’s agenda.
- Considering the high level of interest you all attach to regional cooperation and integration, I am confident that our Summit will witness robust discussions and produce sound decisions.
- Let me at this point, take this opportunity to renew, once again, our sincere appreciation to the African Union, the United Nations and all our bilateral and multilateral partners for their sustained cooperation and assistance. We value their partnership.
- I will conclude my remarks by wishing us fruitful deliberations. I hereby declare open the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
I thank you for your attention.