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Published On: Sun, Dec 14th, 2014

W’African Heads of State meet on security

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ECOWASBy Lawrence Olaoye

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will today in Abuja host the 46th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government which will, among other things, deliberate on the current political and security situation in the sub-region.

President Jonathan and other participating Heads of State and Government of the regional body will also receive a briefing on recent developments in Burkina Faso and review the report of the 33rd Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council.

Also on the agenda of the summit are the consideration and adoption of the 2014 annual report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the consideration and adoption of the report of the 73rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers and the election of the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for next year.

President Jonathan, the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President John Mahama of Ghana,  the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the United  Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas will present statements to the one-day summit before it goes into a closed-door session.

Some of the participating Heads of State and Government had already arrived in Abuja ahead of the opening of the summit today, according to a statement issued by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) on Sunday in Abuja.

A communiqué on the summit’s decisions is expected at the conclusion of their deliberations today

The increasing attacks of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, on villages, towns, churches, mosques, schools and other public places are reasons for the focus of talks at the ECOWAS Summit on insecurity, as it poses a threat to the region with most countries’ borders said to be porous.

Nigerian military personnel have continued to undertake counter terrorism operations in the north-east region but the terrorist group has not retreated.

The 33rd session of the Mediation and Security Council of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had at the end of their meeting in Abuja, Friday made  important recommendations relating to the political and security situation in the region, with a particular focus on Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Mali.

The four-day meeting, which was held at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, also deliberated extensively on the renewal of the mandate of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB), the Ebola outbreak and Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for compensation in case of death or disability in the context of support to peace operations.

In the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the Council welcomed the consensus reached in Burkina Faso by all the stakeholders in the establishment of a transition government, urging all those concerned to adhere to the principle of inclusivity and consensus building and work towards the holding of democratic elections in November 2015.

On the situation in Guinea Bissau, the Council endorsed the decisions reached relating to the post-transition period as well as reforms of the defense and security sector. The Council recommended extension of the mandate of the ECOMIB beyond December 31, 2014 for a period of six months.

On Mali, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its unitary character, calling on the various armed groups in northern Mali to shun terrorist activities.

The Council welcomed the progress made in the Algiers peace talks and called on the parties concerned to try and reach a consensus as soon as possible.

Regarding the elections scheduled to be held in some member states, namely Nigeria, Togo, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, in 2015, the Council urged all electoral commissions to update their electoral registers in order to make the process credible and transparent.

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