Accra, Ghana | XINHUA | The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is considering setting up a platform for national security advisors and early warning centers to enhance conflict prevention in the sub-region, a senior official said here Tuesday.
Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, said at the opening of the 46th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council of the sub-regional bloc that these initiatives were critical due to the worsening insecurity situation in West Africa.
“We are living within the difficult context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the persistent terrorist attacks in our region with their humanitarian, health, and economic consequences,” said Brou.
Besides the terrorist attacks, the ECOWAS Commission president added that matters relating to maritime security were also formidable insecurity issues facing the sub-region and the Gulf of Guinea in general.
“Your presence here is, therefore, critical as you will engage in discussions, the conclusions of which will be submitted to the Authority of Heads of State and Government to enable them to take decisions to tackle the peace and security challenges facing the region,” Brou told members of the Mediation and Security Council.
The one-day session takes place in the face of heightening insecurity in the West African sub-region, which experts fear could undermine the regional integration process.
“Attacks by terrorists and extremist groups are worsening and cascading across the region, leaving no member state spared as a potential target,” said Shierly Ayorkor Botchway, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, in her keynote address.
She said the proposed forum of national security advisors and the implementation of early warning centers would, therefore, be critical elements to reinforce the security architecture of West Africa.
The ministers of defense and national security from all 15 member states of ECOWAS attended the session in the Ghanaian capital ahead of the ECOWAS Heads of State Summit scheduled for Saturday.