By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
Abuja – The ECOWAS Parliament and Commission on Wednesday raised concerns over the security challenges in the region.
It called for collective efforts to restore stability in the region, especially the political crisis in Guinea Bissau.
The Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse-Lo, said this at the Second Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament held in Abuja.
He said that it was important to act collectively as a region to eradicate spiral violence and recurrent attacks.
“The recurrent terrorist attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso, where they have become more deadly, remind us of the critical need to respond appropriately to this threat.
“Terrorism and insecurity have assumed unprecedented proportions in our region, they constitute a major challenge that needs to be absolutely addressed.
“Inasmuch as we all agree that without peace and security, sustainable development is unachievable, indeed, there is a close link between security, stability, democracy, peace and development, which are all necessary and interwoven. It is necessary for us to act now and vigorously to eradicate this spiral of violence.
“In this regard, the involvement of our States and the pooling of our forces and resources seem to me very important, failing which the fight against terrorism will remain ineffective.
“We all paid particular attention to the events in Guinea-Bissau, which disrupted the political situation in the country in the run-up to the presidential election.
“It should also be noted that ECOWAS has planned to send observers, including a parliamentary delegation, to observe the presidential election, I have already given the necessary instructions to that effect.
“I want to stress that we place a great deal of hope in this presidential election, which is expected to enable Guinea Bissau to find a lasting solution to the political crisis it has been facing for many years.”
He said the forthcoming election would usher the people of Guinea-Bissau into a new era of peace and prosperity as well as contribute to political stability at regional level.
Mrs Halima Ahmed, speaking for the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, said that the attacks in the region constitute a threat to stability and integration agenda.
“It is important to highlight that our region is facing some political challenges, especially in Guinea Bissau, which will be organising Presidential election in the next few days.
“The region continues to be confronted with sporadic attacks by terrorists and armed groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger which calls for us to redouble our collective efforts, solidarity and cohesion.”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presidential election of Guinea Bissau will be held on Nov. 24.