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Insecurity: Regional MPs Urge ECOWAS To Dialogue With Terrorists To End Onslaught

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The Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security & Africa Peer Review Mechanism, Legal Affairs & Human Rights, Social Affairs, Gender and Women Empowerment, has stressed the importance of closer cooperation and collaboration between the ECOWAS Commission and the Parliament to confront the numerous security challenges, including terrorism, in the sub-region.

The Committee Chairman, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe Jr. made the observation while interrogating the report presented at the meeting of the Joint Committee by officials of the ECOWAS Commission at the ongoing 2022 First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

He said the meeting, should look at solutions to the challenges of terrorism in Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, among others member states which they have been battling with for about four years.

He said the Parliament is not in any way competing with the Commission as they have their dedicated budget for it.

“The Parliament is not competing with the commission, we have our budget for this. …the Commission and the Parliament should work together as one family to succeed.

“There is no way you can attack terrorism without attacking the source, that source could be poverty, governance structure which people take advantage of.

“ECOWAS must change its strategy for dialogue.

“The policy direction must change and you have to use the tools of the MPs who come from all the territories you have issues and many of the problems will change”.

Meanwhile, the Head, Regional Security Division of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Dieng Abdourahmane while presenting the report on ‘Status of implementation of the ECOWAS Counter Terrorism Action Plan’, said sex, ability to rape women is one of the incentives to become Boko Haram.

He explained that the main concern for ECOWAS is the prevention of terrorism in the sub region as the community body is not talking about force, rather, its vision is to restore order by bringing perpetrators to justice.

“There is need to restore the dignity of everyone to normal way of thinking, restore communities, to restore the social contract” he said.

The 3rd Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Memounatou Ibrahima on her part, advised that, “We should explore other sources of funding; we do not need to wait for aids to fight terrorism.

“There is a minimum standard everywhere, we need to reduce terrorism and infrastructure is necessary”.

Hon. Mahama Agariga urged the Commission to be realistic with its negotiations by engaging the terrorists to know what their issues are.

“Have you engaged the terrorist groups? Have you tried to know what their issues are; have you tried to identify them and engage them? ECOWAS should dialogue with terrorists to know what the issues are. ECOWAS must be interested in the quality of governance”.

The Head, Democracy & Good Governance of the ECOWAS Commission Dr. Emmanuel Okorodudu, emphasized that poverty and governance dilution are some of the drivers of terrorism, like what is happening in Togo.

“We need policy direction from the Parliament” stating that there is need to look at the trends of terrorism in Togo and Mali’s withdrawal from the G5”.

For the Head of Mediation & Coordination of Regional Political Affairs Division of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr (Mrs) Onyinye Onwuka, marginalisation leads to terrorism as bad governance leads to coup de tats.

“We should do more soul searching on good governance…In the area of de-radicalization, women can do well, women in peace and security. We are ready to work because terrorism is eating up our region” she said.

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