President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday admitted that West Africa is constantly under the threat of dreaded groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaida.
He added that regional leaders are being daily inundated with saddening news of human trafficking being carried out by trans-border syndicates.
Buhari said these in his welcome address at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States held in Abuja.
He stressed the need for regional leaders to take urgent action to address the challenges.
He said, “In West Africa, we live in constant threat of violent terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaida.
“Nearly every week, we see and hear the horror of human trafficking perpetrated by trans-border syndicates, who lure our youths to slavery through irregular migration.
“We see the consequences, on our young men and women and on our economies, of drug trafficking and capital flight.
“Accordingly, it is imperative that we take urgent action to address these challenges.”
Buhari said his administration, in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration, had been evacuating Nigerians who were stranded in Libya.
He said returnees had been receiving needed support including from state governments and some Non-Governmental Organisations.
He disclosed that he had instructed the National Emergency Management Agency to speed up the evacuation of all Nigerians stranded in Libya and facilitate their resettlement.
In view of the enormity of the challenge, Buhari suggested that regional leaders should look into the possibility of putting in place a well run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.
He also suggested that they should step up dialogue with their European partners in their efforts to jointly address the challenge.