Moved by the growing insecurity in the West African sub-region, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Ministers, yesterday, met in Abuja to proffer solutions on ways to nip the scourge of terrorism in the bud.
Speaking during the opening of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council, the chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said in spite of the numerous achievements recorded in the region, a lot still needed to be done.
Onyeama added that the security challenges posed by insurgent groups and terrorists in the region, continued to be a source of grave concern, notwithstanding the relative successes recorded by the various security operations.
“Insurgent attacks continue in the Lake Chad Basin region alongside the humanitarian challenges faced by IDPs and refugees. Similar scenarios of militant attacks prevail in Mali, Niger, and lately, Burkina Faso,” Onyeama said.
Earlier, Onyeama said as a result of the security challenges facing the West African sub-region, the Mediation and Security Council has become an important platform that gave the region the opportunity to address the emerging challenges.
He said findings from its previous meetings revealed that peace and security sustainability can only be achieved through the promotion of good governance and viable democracy.
“Also, our sub-region must employ measures that would lead to economic growth and development through provision of job opportunities to the youths, transparency and accountability in governance, as well as adoption of liberal policies that would enhance greater economic cooperation and attract foreign investment in the region,” Onyeama stated.
On the political front, Onyeama said in the coming months, some countries in the region will witness major elections, while also saying that a peaceful and transparent election is a catalyst to maintenance of peace, security and tranquillity.
“Therefore, the legislative and presidential election scheduled to hold in a number of member states, provides opportunity for the sub-region to once again demonstrate its agility as the pioneer in the continent to enthrone full democratic governance in all member countries,” Onyeama also said.
Onyeama further recalled the 53rd Ordinary Session of the Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Lome, Togo, where leaders of the sub-region reiterated their commitment on addressing socio-political crisis undermining the stability of some of the member states in the region.
“In this connection, since his assumption as the chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has dispatched numerous special envoy within the sub-region to interact with the political groups on the need to embrace peace, while encouraging dialogue and engagements to address the differences among the various political actors,” Onyeama added.