President Akufo-Addo (2nd from right), Omar Alieu Touray (2nd from left), President, ECOWAS Commission, with Baba Kamara (right), ECOWAS Special Envoy for Counter Terrorism, and Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah (left), ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo (2nd from right), Omar Alieu Touray (2nd from left), President, ECOWAS Commission, with Baba Kamara (right), ECOWAS Special Envoy for Counter Terrorism, and Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah (left), ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
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ECOWAS to send envoy to 3 states

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, has indicated that the commission is dispatching its Special Envoy for Counter Terrorism, Ambassador Baba Kamara, to terrorism stricken areas in the sub-region. 

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It is believed that Baba Kamara, a former Ghanaian National Security Advisor’s visit to these countries, is to ascertain at first hand issues pertaining to terrorism, interact with officials and other stakeholders in order to be in good stead to brief the commission.  

President Touray announced this when he led a three-man ECOWAS Commission delegation to brief President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo about the progress made so far about counter-terrorism activities, at the Jubilee House in Accra.

The delegation which included the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Dr Abdel-Fatau Musah, and the ECOWAS Resident Representative to Ghana, Baba Gana Wakil, was also at the presidency to officially introduce Ambassador Baba Kamara, a former Ghanaian Minister of National Security, to President Akufo-Addo.

They were also at the Presidency to seek President Akufo-Addo’s guidance and leadership in reactivating the mission on counter-terrorism and brief him about the development that had taken place under President Akufo-Addo’s direction.

The heads of state and governments of ECOWAS in 2021 appointed President Akufo-Addo as the regional bloc’s champion on matters relating to counter terrorism in the sub-region.

“We believe in all this, there is a lot of room to very closely work with the envoy on Counter Terrorism and that is why we are happy that he is here with us today. We leave it to you to decide how you would want him to support you in this area,” President Touray told President Akufo-Addo.

“But one thing we also thought as urgent and important is he vising these countries as urgently as possible. ECOWAS stands ready to give him full support in this area to ensure that before the of January 2024 something very clear comes out in terms of our engagement with these countries,” he explained.

Dr Touray explained that according to ECOWAS’ own rules, a country that had notified it of its intention to leave would be given a one-year notice period and in the case of the three countries - Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso – the commission had up to January 2025.

Work

Dr Touray said the commission had worked with the Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Staff of member countries on the establishment of ECOWAS standby force and the cost of maintaining them.

He said the first was a standby force of 5,000 which would cost about $2.4 billion, while the other proposal was a brigade of 1,500 men which would cost about $1 billion.

He also announced that the UN had also agreed to fund the standby force to the tune of 75 per cent. He commended Ghana for its lead support in attaining this feat, and called on President Akufo-Addo to use his influence to ensure that ECOWAS was able to raise the remainder of 25 per cent.

Dr Touray announced that the commission was planning on holding a special summit that would bring all stakeholders on board, including countries in transition, to look at issues regarding the future of regional integration, future of security in the region and the future of governance.

Welcome

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, welcomed the delegation and said the choice of Baba Kamara as the Special Envoy for Counter Terrorism would make it easier for him to work with him.

He called for the need for a meeting among all heads of state to clarify the parameters for drawing the counterterrorism strategy, adding that since there was consensus among member states to fight terrorism, there should not be procrastination.

President Akufo-Addo has since asked the ECOWAS Commission to organise a special summit for the heads of state to meet and agree on the modalities.

He said it was important for the heads of state to meet and clarify exactly what were the parameters within which they should go in defining the policy, and that it was “fortunate for us and for me the Special Envoy [Baba Kamara] was a Ghanaian and made that work much easier.

“Nevertheless, this cannot be a Ghanaian initiative. It has to be an ECOWAS-wide initiative, and I think that for us to have real clarity going forward, we need there to be an agreement among the heads of state as to our strategy going forward,” President Akufo-Addo remarked.

“It is on that basis that we can flesh out the other matters that you have talked about,” President Akufo-Addo added.

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