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Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its member states’ ambassadors are mulling to chart a way forward for regional stability, peace and security
The intensified cooperation was discussed at the thematic briefing session with member states’ ambassadors which was held on 10 May 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Speaking on the session’s theme, ‘2022 Security outlook amidst military incursion into politics and the limits of ECOWAS Peace and Security Mechanisms’ the vice-president of the ECOWAS, Madam Finda Koroma restated the commission’s commitment to peace and security, noting that the existing mechanisms for these, would continue to be strengthened to respond to the regional dynamics.
Koroma also commended the commission’s partners for their consistent efforts in promoting peace and stability in the face of the recent resurgence of military coups in the region while assuring that within the framework of its mandate, ECOWAS will continue to promote a conducive atmosphere for harmony and integration.
In his opening remarks, the ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, Gen Francis Behanzin, represented by the director, political affairs Dr Aderemi Ajibewa, noted that the briefing session presents the opportunity for analysis of the various security threats and examination of the current relapse in the regional democratic space, typified by the ‘coup d’états’ in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso as well as the attempted coup in Guinea Bissau, within a span of six months.
He added, “Necessitates a retrospective interrogation of the events leading up to the coups, an evaluation of ECOWAS’ response and the development of a strategy that will not only return the aforementioned member states to democratic rule but also ensure the prevention of future coups in the region”
Presenting the 2022 regional peace and security outlook, the executive director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Dr Chukwuemeka Eze, stressed the need to focus interventions on the drivers of conflict and instability. He established the linkage between democracy and governance, organised crime and violent extremism, gender peace and security and environmental security.
At the briefing which also had the online participation of the African Union, and ECOWAS ambassadors to Ethiopia, the ambassadors took part in presentations by the Nigerian Defense College (NDC) and officials from relevant directorates which further highlighted the linkages between governance and security and the need to engage more on the subjects of youth inclusivity, women, peace and security among others.
The meeting closed with the full benefits of discussions, questions and comments just as the deputy head of mission/high commissioner to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Amb Eddison Agbenyegah who chaired the session, charged authorities in the region to continue to respond to the peace and security challenges in the region, in a more decisive manner to avoid re-occurrences of military incursions and related instability.
The thematic session was also supported by partners including WANEP, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the European Union, through the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project.