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ECOWAS seeks action against increased terrorist activities in central Sahel

The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), on Monday in Abuja emphasised the need for urgent actions against the increased terrorist activities in the Central Sahel.

The ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. AbdelFateh Moussa, made the call at a five-day training.

It has the theme ‘Policing Sustainable Peace: the Role of Police/ Gendarmerie Officers in the Management of ECOWAS Peace Support Operations’.

The training was organised by the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the National Defence College, with the support of ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operation (EPSAO).

It was co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and Implemented by the German Agency for the International Cooperation (GIZ)

Moussa said that the classical peacekeeping operations were becoming obsolete due to the very incemetric nature of the conflict environment in the region.

He said: ” And in Central Sahel where terrorism and violent extremism have become the order of the day and classical peacekeeping, operations are no answer to what we are facing today.

” And so whatever we are going to do in our counter terrorism operation is going to end through stabilisation by stabilising our communities which entails bringing back the state providing services.

” And making sure that the populations have freedom from physical harm, freedom from wants, fear and this are the fundamentals of the UN charter and that is also the basis of the sustainable development goals that we are talking about today.”

He, however, commended the Nigerian Government and Multinational Joint Taskforce for degrading branches of the Boko Haram

Moussa said: ” I really want to take the opportunity of this forum to pay homage to Nigeria within the framework of Lake Chad Basin and the Multinational Joint Task Force.

”That today the whole branches of Boko Haram whether you are talking about ISWAP, the Boko Haram link to Al-qaeda, have been degraded to the level where they are only resorting to banditry.

” When terrorism began in Nigeria and other countries, it was on the wing that we saw an increase in the Sahel particularly in central Sahel and that is why we have to confront it.

” And if we don’t do that and we allow terrorists in the Central Sahel to link up with the coastal countries and with maritime insecurity we are facing then the whole region is actually in trouble.”

He said the police, gendarmerie and civilians have a key role to play in bringing back the state to the people in communities ravaged by the terrorist.

According to him, most often the military can go and liberate an area, adding, ”but because of the multiple challenges within the region they move on.

”Then the nefarious actors come to reoccupy the already liberated position and we need to solve that right now.

” The role of the police, gendarmerie and civilians actually to lead the civilisation aspect that is bringing back the state to the people and then trying to repeal and destroy social contract between the population and the government is the key role.”

Moussa expressed happiness to see few women here but one deficit that we have in the region is the deficit of women in uniformed personnel.

Earlier, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, said national and international police were key to preventing and addressing crime and violence, as well as maintaining public order and safety.

Represented by the Head of Human Development, European Union, Leila Ben-Amor, Isopi, added that the role that police play fall within the interdependent imperative of justice, peace , democracy and human rights.

She added that it was deeply connected to the 2030 Global Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Isopi said the training on sustainable policing would provide skills on strategic leadership and enhancement of strategies of various actors in Peace mission operations.

Also, the Commandant National Defence College, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir, urged participants to actively engage in all the training components and utilise the knowledge gained.

On her part, the acting Provost Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, Ms Julie Sanda, said the training was prompted by the need to close the gap among Police officers in planning for Peace keeping operations for the ECOWAS standby force.

NAN reports that 25 Police officers and gendarmerie from the 15 ECOWAS member states were participating in the training. (NAN)

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Written by Tom Chiahemen

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