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On 26-27 August 2019 in Niamey, Niger our Commissioner of Political Affairs, Mr. Moussa Fara Diop and Executive Secretary, Mr. Kawsu Sillah attended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional “Non-State Actors Conference on Curbing Terrorism and Violent Extremism” in ECOWAS region.
A two-day civilian stakeholders meeting is organised by ECOWAS Commission in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It brought together 100 civil society representatives mainly from traditional and religious groups, youth, women, non-governmental organisations and others from the fifteen ECOWAS Member States including Cameroun, Chad and Mauritania to discuss the growing threats of terrorism, violent extremism and inter-communal clashes in the Sahel Region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Madame Lamido Ousseini Salamatou Bala Goga, the Minister of State for African Integration and Nigeriens Abroad of Niger emphasized that terrorism constitute the major threat to peace and security in the region and has become a trans-border threat that is spreading to other countries. Thus the needy for all parties at the state and non-state levels to find solutions to ending the menace of terrorism.
Madam Finda E.M. Koroma, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission in her opening remarks commended the efforts and determination of His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger and Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, in resolving security issues and terrorism in the Sahel region in particular.
“This threat of terrorism, which is the topic of our meeting over the next two days, is of great concern to us in West Africa. Our region is regularly targeted by terrorist incidents perpetrated almost on a daily basis,” She said.
Vice President Koroma stressed the need to address the root causes of radicalisation and violent extremism in other to fight and eradicated terrorism in the ECOWAS Region.
Highlighting the negative effects of violent extremism and its threats to human development, Gen. Francis A. Behanzin, Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission outlined that the Niamey meeting provides opportunity for stakeholders in the region to participate in finding solutions to ending terrorism in the region.
He underlined the critical role to be played by civil society stakeholders and encouraged them to propose a strategy that can be adopted by the region to eradicate radicalisation and violent extremism.
Madam Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) stated that their participation at the meeting demonstrates UNOWAS solidarity and commitment to putting an end to the scourge of terrorism in the region.
“No country or actor can win this fight alone. Also, we need even more constructive partnerships,” She said.
Also speaking at the opening, Madam Diana Louise Ofwona, Resident Representative, UNDP Niger, while reading a statement on behalf of Madam Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Assistant Administrator and Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, stressed that UNDP is trying to achieve a regional approach of shared responsibility, through the Humanitarian for Peace and Security development initiative.
The Stakeholders’ meeting will be followed by a Joint Meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff, Chiefs of Security and Intelligence Services on Terrorism on the 28th and 29th of August 2019 in Niamey.
These two meetings are in preparation for the Ministerial meeting on the 12th of September 2019 in Ouagadougou, and then followed by the Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads and Government on Terrorism on the 14th of September 2019.
Full report, please view ECOWAS website from this link: https://www.ecowas.int/civilian-stakeholders-meet-on-terrorism-and-violent-extremism-in-the-ecowas-region/