Nigeria urges AU, ECOWAS to synergize strategies towards mitigating regional conflicts

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 joint consultation meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) held on Wednesday in Abuja.

By Mark Longyen

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Amb. Musa Nuhu, has called on the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to harmonize strategies towards mitigating regional conflicts.

Amb. Nuhu made this known at the maiden joint consultation meeting between the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) in Abuja on Wednesday.

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The Chairman, ECOWAS MSC, described the meeting as a key turning point in Africa’s collective pursuit of peace and prosperity,stressing that “for long, the continent had struggled with security challenges that brought untold hardship to its people.”

“From terrorism and violent extremism to unconstitutional changes of government, these challenges demand a unified response that goes beyond our national boundaries and requires collective efforts.

“Therefore, these joint consultative engagements between the AU and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) serve as an important platform for forging such a collective response to mitigate these challenges.

“This is in tandem with the tenets of Article 16 of the PSC Protocol, to harmonize the activities of Regional Mechanisms towards promoting peace, security and stability in Africa,” he said.

Amb. Nuhu noted that the nexus between the AU PSC and ECOWAS MSC missions was highly fundamental, hence aligning strategies would ensure a more cohesive and comprehensive approach to regional peace and stability.

“By aligning strategies and actions, this joint consultation can foster a deeper understanding of regional security dynamics, harmonize efforts aimed at preventive diplomacy and develop more effective conflict resolution strategies, thereby ensuring a more cohesive and comprehensive approach to regional peace and stability.

“Therefore, I urge us all to seize this platform to engage in an in-depth discussion that will allow us identify areas of potential synergies and foster a coherent response to achieve political stability, as well as ensure peace and security in Africa,” he said.

Amb. Nuhu added that by leveraging the collective expertise, resources, and networks of both organizations, the continent could amplify its efforts towards conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding initiatives across the continent.

He also suggested that the dialogue should go beyond discussions on only political affairs, peace and security and involve discussions on economic development, humanitarian intervention, social cohesion and infrastructural development.

The envoy called for the mobilization of resources for regional and continental peace initiatives, building synergies, coordination, and urged participants to explore  concerted strategies to sustain zero tolerance for unconstitutional changes of government and effective counterterrorism measures.

“These are the building blocks for good governance that would guarantee a peaceful and stable Africa, as the pursuit of lasting peace is linked to a broader spectrum of regional integration.

“Through dialogue on all critical sectors, the AU and RECs like ECOWAS can craft effective solutions that address the root causes of conflict and foster a brighter future for all Africans.

“It will also achieve the African Union’s vision of “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa”, to practicalize our slogan of “African Solutions to African problems,” he added.

Also speaking, Amb. Jainaba Jagne, The Gambia’s Permanent Representative to the AU and  Chairperson AU PSC, said that Africa was faced with the scourge of terrorism, violent extremism and the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of governments(UCGs).

She said that these conflicts had serious negative consequences for peace, security, and stability in the continent, and the meeting was an opportunity  to brainstorm on the effective means and ways of preventing and responding to their recurrences.

“It is also a very good occasion to further reflect on the proliferation of terrorist groups that threaten peace, security and development, as well as the territorial integrity of the member states directly affected by these unfortunate events.

“This underscores the critical need for stronger cooperation between the PSC and RECs/RMs to enhance efforts to address security challenges posed by the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.

“I expect this meeting to re-energize our efforts on leveraging preventive diplomacy to forestall UCGs, and terrorism and violent extremism; strategize joint actions by our two Councils for the countries in the West African Region, and enhance coordination, synergies, and regular engagements,” she said.

Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the event, described the inaugural meeting as timely.

He said that it was an intensification of numerous efforts towards resolving the asymmetric challenges facing Africa, such as the AU’s 1999 Convention against terrorism, 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 between ECOWAS and the African Union on the challenges facing West Africa as to a framework of action and raising resources together to confront the challenges facing us and meet the exigencies of the time,” he said.(NAN)

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