Inject action against terrorism - President charges ECOWAS, re-elected Chairman

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
President Akufo-Addo addressing the 59th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS in Accra
President Akufo-Addo addressing the 59th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS in Accra

The time is up for West African nations to inject more vigour in their concerted effort to deal with the growing threats of terrorism and piracy in the region.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who made the call, intimated that none of the countries was insulated against the threats of terrorism.

“This concerted effort, which must be a major issue and priority objective for the Community, is the best way for us to address the security challenge. It is a matter of dignity and sovereignty, which affects all nations in the region. None of our countries is insulated against the threats of terrorism,” he said.

Opening the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Accra last Saturday, President Akufo-Addo, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS, recounted recent serious security challenges, some of them deadly terrorist attacks in Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger, and said there was the urgent need for Member States to agree quickly on how to combat the threats.

Killings

President Akufo-Addo cited the gruesome killing of 132 civilians, including children, in Burkina Faso on June 5, 2021, which had necessitated his visit to Burkina Faso to offer condolences and sympathies.

Those developments, he explained, should reinforce their collective commitment to pursue and implement, with renewed vigour, the decisions taken at the Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism on September 14, 2019.

He added that that concerted effort, which must be a major issue and a priority objective for the Community, was the best way for ECOWAS to address that security challenge.

Piracy

While calling for urgent attention to the growing threat to maritime security in the region, President Akufo-Addo indicated that acts of piracy and maritime destabilisation were on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea.

That, he noted, was affecting trade in West Africa and increasing the cost of imported products.

“We must operationalise the maritime centres we have established in the region and agree on the way forward to combat these acts of piracy. We cannot hand over control of the Gulf to pirates,” the President reminded his colleagues.

UN Security Council

President Akufo-Addo also commended all ECOWAS and African Union (AU) Member States for supporting Ghana’s successful candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the years 2022-2023.

He gave an assurance that Ghana would ensure that Africa’s voice was heard in the deliberations of the Security Council on matters affecting the region and the continent and on global issues through broad consultations to define Africa’s interests.

Ezulwini Consensus

Touching on reforms at the UN, he said Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform based on the Ezulwini Consensus was one matter Ghana was determined to urge on the global agenda.

“We will work to solicit the backing of countries around the world for this long, overdue reform,” he said.

The ECOWAS Chair stated that it was time to correct the long-standing injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represented for the nations of Africa.