ECOWAS must work harder together – President Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama on Monday enjoined the Summit of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government to work harder together, and with smart strategies to keep the sub-region safe and attractive for investments.

He explained that peace, security and stability were great requirements for attracting much needed investments to create jobs and opportunities for the people of the region, however terrorism or lack of security in one West African nation reflects negatively on the whole of the sub-region.

President Mahama, who is Chair of the sub-regional body, was speaking at the opening session of the 46th Ordinary Session of the Authority in Abuja, Nigeria.

President Mahama said the sub-region made a lot of progress in the passing year, including on the political front, notable progress in addressing political and security challenges. He was particular about successful presidential elections in Guinea Bissau, and ongoing reforms in Burkina Fasso, and urged parties to the inter-Malian dialogue taking place in Algiers to bury their differences and redouble their efforts for peace and security.

He said however that: “Despite these progressive strides our sub-region continues to be affected by multiple security threats. Notable among these are transnational organised crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, and violent extremism, maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, cross border security challenges in the Sahel Region and the Manor River Basin and also security challenges posed by Boko Haram in the north-eastern parts of Nigeria as well as in the bordering countries of Cameroon, chad and Niger.”

He reminded the gathering that ECOWAS will be 40 years since its formation and “quest for strong economic development and regional integration”, which aspirations he said have been severely hampered by several factors including political instability.

President Mahama also predicted that 2015 will be hectic and demanding for West Africa and its people as the sub-region’s commitment to multi-party democracy and governance comes under test with five national elections.

Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Fasso, Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire all go to the polls in 2015.

He said reports of the ECOWAS pre-elections missions dispatched to the various countries are encouraging so far and on behalf of the sub-regional body, extended best wishes and hopes for credible, free and fair elections.


Source: Graphic Online

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