African leaders determined to uproot terrorism, military coups —Envoys

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Participants at the inaugural joint consultation meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) at the ambassadorial level held recently in Abuja.

Group photo of participants at the maiden consultation meeting of AU-ECOWAS Security Councils held at the ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja.

By Mark Longyen

African Leaders are determined to uproot terrorism and unconstitutional changes in government, ECOWAS and African Union ambassadors have said.

The envoys made this known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of a consultation meeting between ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) and AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Thursday in Abuja.

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They said terrorism and unconstitutional change in governance were the two major existential threats facing the continent.

Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, for instance, disclosed that ECOWAS’ MSC and AU’s PSC were already intensifying numerous efforts towards resolving the asymmetric challenges facing Africa.

He said that such efforts were being vigorously carried out under the auspices of the AU’s 1999 Convention against terrorism, and ECOWAS’ 2019 plan of action for the eradication of terrorism.

“It is about how we should institutionalize predictable collaborative arrangements between the African Union, the regional economic communities and the regional mechanisms on a broad area.

“We have chosen terrorism and unconstitutional changes of government as the main issues to discuss because these are the two existential threats that are facing the West African region today.

“We are going to have a clear roadmap or joint action plan between ECOWAS and the African Union on the challenges facing West Africa, with regards to a framework of action, and raise resources together to confront the challenges facing us to meet the exigencies of the time.

“In order to deal effectively with terrorism, we need actually to go kinetic to make sure that terrorists are routed out of our region, and in order for them not to come back, we have to reestablish the social contract between the populations and the government,” he said.

Also speaking, Amb. Musa Nuhu, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS and MSC Chairman, said ECOWAS was leveraging synergy with AU, sister regional economic groups, and global partners, to tackle Africa’s terrorism and unconstitutional change of government challenges.

“We are talking about coordination and synergy in approaching so many emerging issues as the continent is facing unconstitutional changes of government, terrorism, banditry and other menaces.

“ECOWAS as a region needs to work with other regional economic groups, such as the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, which is our immediate neighbor and the African Union, which is the umbrella body.

“This is to make sure that there is synergy and collaboration towards combating these challenges,” the ambassador said.

Amb. Nuhu disclosed that it was Nigeria that initiated the draft agenda and modalities for the AU-ECOWAS PSC-MSC maiden consultation meeting, with the view to stemming the tide of violent conflicts in Africa.

Amb. Jainaba Jagne, Gambia’s Permanent Representative to AU and Chairperson, AU-PSC, also identified terrorism, violent extremism and resurgence of unconstitutional changes of governments as Africa’s main scourges that must be decimated.

“So, the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council is working very closely with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to address the emerging threats that we have on the continent.

“We have terrorism, we have extreme violence, we have unconstitutional changes of government, so all these points are areas that we need to collaborate, synergize and work to ensure that we combat all of these scourges that we are now experiencing on the continent.

“The Peace and Security Council of the African Union has held sessions, where we have discussed, not just the Sahel issues but also the Lake Chad Basin, we have held discussions with the Multinational Joint Task Force and other entities.

“These efforts are to ensure that the solutions that we have are solutions that are sustainable, solutions that work out for the long term for all of these countries that are, unfortunately, going through the scourge of terrorism and, unfortunately, in some instances, resulting in unconstitutional changes of government,” she said.

Also speaking, Amb. Bankole Adeoye, African Union’s Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said terrorism financing was a critical terrorism enabler, which the AU was addressing “to rid the continent of terrorism and silence the guns.”

“The root causes of terrorism are well known and the African Union, ECOWAS and other regional bodies are really addressing them. One of the enablers of terrorism is sponsorship and financing, mainly from external sources, and in some cases, local.

“Therefore, you need an effective financial intelligence system that looks at the global picture and working with the UN office on counter-terrorism.

“Working through our own African Union Centre on the Study and Research on terrorism, we are addressing this curse because it is necessary to nip it in the bud, and once you cut off that lifeline, most of the terrorists will not be able to survive,” Adeoye added.(NAN)

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