ECOWAS moves to enhance protection, security of Nigerians

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Hajiya Raheemat Momodu, Head, Human Security and Civil Society Division, ECOWAS Commission, spoke at the closing of the workshop.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has developed a holistic, integrated coordination mechanism to enhance Nigeria’s efforts in the protection and security of its citizens.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ECOWAS mechanism for protection and human security for the Nigerian Government was adopted after a three-day capacity building workshop for multiple stakeholders in Abuja.

Head, Human Security and Civil Society Division, ECOWAS Commission, Hajiya Raheemat Momodu, spoke at the closing of the workshop.

She said that effective collaborations of all stakeholders is key to effectively tackle protection and human security challenges confronting Member States.

Momodu said that in a bid to achieve this, the ECOWAS Commission brought together stakeholders across sectors to discuss their individual mandates, challenges and how they can work for effectiveness.

She said that the resolutions from the workshop were developed into a consolidated and holistic approach mechanism which would be presented to the Nigerian Government for implementation.

According to Momodu, the COVID-19 exposes how fragile many countries of the sub-region are in protection and human security issues like Sexual and Gender Based Violence amongst others.

“The final resolution is that there is a need for all ECOWAS Member States, Nigeria in this case, to institutionalise a whole of government and a whole of societal approach to protection and human security.

“And that it is very important that we do not all work in silos and the fact that every sector of the society is equal stakeholders.

“The media, you were fully represented, the private sector, government establishments and other persons.

“What next after this is the establishment of ECOWAS protection and human security integrated coordination mechanism in a place that the Nigerian government wants.

“We are not going to dictate to the Nigerian government but we prefer that such a mechanism since it is going to coordinate other stakeholders should be in a central office that will be accessible to everybody.”

He said: “ Once the mechanism is created, ECOWAS will continue to interface with that mechanism when it comes to protection and human security so that we work together with Nigeria and with the support of partners.

“To ensure that the mechanism is functional in terms of remaining focus on issues of protection. When it comes to protection, we need to have something like a protection web that covers everybody,” Momodu said.

On implementation of the mechanism, Momodu urged the Nigerian Government and that of other Member States to implement the mechanism which emanated from the people themselves.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, commended the ECOWAS Commission for driving the process and developing a roadmap which seeks to protect the community citizens.

Onyeama, who was represented by Mr Johnson Ogbele, Counsellor at the ECOWAS National Unit in the ministry, said that the outcomes of the workshop align with the mandates of ECOWAS National Unit in the ministry.

“I am certain that this workshop has built the capacity of participants that we, as stakeholders, are more aware and better prepared to protect Nigerians in vulnerable situations.

“As well as implement ECOWAS text in relations to advancement of human security in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is my hope that this workshop will help us as stakeholders to seamlessly coordinate our existing mechanism for national social intervention programmes”, Onyeama said. 

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