GOVERNMENTAL security experts of member countries of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, have converged on the 5th of December 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria to deliberate on the finalisation of the priority action plan to curb terrorism in the ECOWAS region.
Welcoming the participants to the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Gen Francis Behanzin, stressed the importance of collective brainstorming on the issue as it provides Member States with the necessary means to combat terrorism while affirming their determination to take ownership of the regional security architecture.
Giving a background to the region’s security debacle, Commissioner Behanzin noted that apart from becoming the major security threat to all ECOWAS Member States, “there is an increasing connection in and between organized crime, inter-community conflicts and terrorism”.
He stated that security problems relating to terrorism affect every State in the region and have consequences throughout West Africa, both in the hinterland and in coastal countries.
Commissioner Behanzin disclosed further that despite the 18 strategies developed by the international community for the Sahel-Sahara to address security, development and governance challenges, there is still the prevalence of coordination, financing and implementation constraints.
He reminded delegates of the need to work with the eight priority areas identified at the end of the recent special security summit called by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso which included the pooling of efforts and coordination of initiatives to combat terrorism.
Others are the effective sharing of intelligence between the security services of the Member States, training and equipping state actors involved in the fight against terrorism, strengthening security management and control at land, air, sea and river borders including the control of multi-use weapons and sensitive products.
Also included in the eight priority areas are the fight against the financing of terrorism, the promotion of communication, inter-community dialogue and the prevention of violent extremism, as well as the action and resource mobilization plan for financing the fight against terrorism in the ECOWAS region.
The security experts were briefed on the components and elements of the action plan by the by the Departmental Director, Peace-keeping and Regional Security Cyriaque Agnekethom.
The two-day meeting is featuring a presentation on working group activities including plenary and discussion culminating in the review and adoption of the final report.
The Priority Action Plan, with its budget and timetable for implementation, is billed to be presented to the ordinary session of the Summit of Heads of State scheduled for the 21st of December 2019.
– Dec. 7, 2019 @ 15:49 GMT |