The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff, CCDS, meeting has ended with a pledge by member states to strengthen collaborations and partnerships to ensure peace and security in the region.
The Chairman of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff General, Abayomi Olonisakin said this at the end of two days meeting in Abuja, stating that Peace and security in the region could be achieved through synergy and cooperation among member nations.
General Olonisakin said that experience had shown that political disturbances in member states had the capacity to destabilise the region with associated humanitarian consequences.
He stated that some of the security threats were transnational in nature requiring multinational cooperation and collaboration to effectively tackle them.
“In the course of the 39th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff, we have examined the implementation of the recommendations of the last meeting…We have also received updates and reviewed some of our peace support operations including ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia and ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau, maritime security in our region and other security issues affecting the region.
“The main essence of our discussion is to make appropriate recommendations to our political leaders, the Authority of Heads of State and Government,” he said.”
General Olonisakin urged other Defence Chiefs in the region to adequately brief the leaderships of their various countries on decisions reached during the meeting.
“This will assist the political leadership in their deliberations and decisions that will be taken during their meeting,” he added.
Implementation of recommendations
The Permanent Secretary Nigerian Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa urged member states to implement the recommendations reached at the end of the meeting.
“Some of the recommendations are to be implemented by the respective member states while others are to be implemented by the ECOWAS Commission.”
“As you rise from this meeting therefore, I urge you to ensure that the recommendations are implemented timely and faithfully at both levels,” Batagarawa said.
The two-day meeting centred on the need for representatives of member states to ensure that recommendations made were shared with the various national governments for implementation.
Defence Chiefs expressed concern over transnational organised crime, maritime insecurity, and the proliferation of small arms as well as light weapons.
Also discussed was the spread of terrorism threat in the region as being witnessed in some member states.
In addition to the security situation in the region, the Defence Chiefs reviewed the status of the confirmation of pledges by member states for the new structure of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), the ECOWAS missions in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) and The Gambia (ECOMIG), the G5 Sahel Force and the fight against terrorism, among others.