The President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, says regional insecurity is holding back economic, social and human advancement.
Speaking at the opening of the session of the ECOWAS forty-second Mediation Council meeting on Monday, 24 June 2019, in Abuja, Brou said: “Almost every month, our region is hit by terrorist attacks which plunge our populations into mourning. The problem has become more complex with ruthless inter-communal clashes that pose a threat to the social cohesion of our countries.”
A statement by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja on Tuesday, 25 June 2019, said that Brou called on Member States to implement the Lomé Declaration on Peace, Security, Stability and the Fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which was adopted during the joint ECOWAS-Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, Summit in July 2018.
He stressed the need for ECOWAS to consider other patterns of relationships and strengthen cooperation with geo-political blocs with which it shares the same vulnerabilities given the transnational nature of security threats and the porosity borders in the region.
On the political front, Brou highlighted the ECOWAS Commission’s continuous efforts to support Member States in the conduct of inclusive, transparent and credible elections.
The President presented to the Council Memorandums on the Political and Security situation in the region, which included the status of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) and the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) as well as one on the issuance of ECOWAS Exemption Certificate by the President of the Commission in case of “extreme” emergency.
In his speech, Mustapha Suleiman, the Chairman of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC) of the Economic Community of West African States, noted that significant milestones have been recorded towards the strengthening of democracy, peace and stability in the ECOWAS region.
Suleiman, who is also Nigeria’s acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, noted that in the area of security, “ECOWAS has taken concrete steps through increased engagement with its Member States in tackling security threats in the region, in particular terrorist insurgency in the Sahel and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, which have been of major concern.”
The statement added that the Council was briefed on the report of 3 June 2019 MSC Ambassadorial level meeting by Ambassador Babatunde Nurudeen.
The Mediation and Security Council is made up of ECOWAS Member States’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence.