Remain united toward promoting economic growth, political stability – ECOWAS

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The Mediation and Security Council (MSC) of ECOWAS at ministerial level has urged member states to remain united in promoting economic growth, peace and political stability in the sub-region.

Amb.Yusuf Tuggar, Chairman of the MSC and Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave the advice at the opening ceremony of the 52nd Ordinary Session of the MSC meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

He identified security and humanitarian challenges faced in the sub-region, to have contributed to terrorism, saying that such had continued to threaten the well-being of people in the community.

According to him, the ECOWAS Early Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) between January and May, shows the sub-region had recorded not less than 7,000 deaths,  resulting from more than 800 terrorist incidents.

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“Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali particularly devastated by relentless violence. The reality highlights human-cost of insecurity that underscores urgency for coordinated and decisive action to combat this menace.

“Terrorism does not recognise borders; from the Sahel to the coastal states, no country is immune to its devastating impact.

“It is crucial for every country within ECOWAS, including those in the Sahel belt, to understand that the fight against terrorism is not the burden of a few, but a collective responsibility.

“Therefore, we must remain united and demonstrate unwavering commitment and resolve, to safeguard the lives of our citizens.

“As we join forces to find common solutions to violent extremism and foreign interference, we should remain mindful of broader challenges, and cooperation to tackle underlying causes of instability in our region,” Tuggar said.

He also attributed instability to climate change, migration, organised criminal activity, global terms of trade and access to financing, as some of the challenges facing the sub region.

The minister, however, urged member states to establish solid foundation that would assist in reducing inequality, poverty and strengthen democracy.

The President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, on his part, decried the lingering threats that have posed significant challenges to the sub-region, amidst the commemoration of the commission’s 49th anniversary of the regional integration project.

He said the Gulf of Guinea had faced illegal fishing, drug trafficking and dumping of toxic waste, thus affecting livelihoods.

Touray said, “Governance deficits and marginalisation have strained social contracts, engendering bitter political rivalries, resource competition, organised crime and violence.

“To complicate the situation, our sub-region had also become the arena of multipolar geostrategic and geopolitical competition coupled with the explosion of new destructive technologies.

“The region is also affected by strategies of misinformation and disinformation practices, that foster mistrust among stakeholders and undermine social cohesion.”

Mr Leonardo Simao, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) said the meeting provided a platform for the UN-ECOWAS, to deepen their partnership.

He commended the continuous and sustained relationship between the UN and ECOWAS, towards tackling challenges facing the sub-region, since the previous session, held in Abuja.

“We will continue to engage relevant stakeholders in and beyond the sub-region as part of the contribution to find lasting solution to the stand-off between ECOWAS and three member states.

“Those that have indicated intention to withdraw from the sub-regional bloc, our engagement have been carried out within the framework of tackling prevailing challenges, consolidating democracy and good governance in the sub-region.

“It will also enhance democracy, good governance and socioeconomic development, as well as economic empowerment for women and children,” Simao said. (NAN

By Fortune Abang

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