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Insecurity: Tinubu Urges ECOWAS Member States To Pay Up Their Financial Commitment

Tinubu has urged ECOWAS members to honour their financial obligations to meet expectations of its ministers of defence and finance.

Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Tinubu has called members states of the subregional bloc to fulfill their financial commitments to the organisation so that the ongoing security challenges in West Africa can be effectively tackled.

Speaking at the 65th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS, the Nigeria’s President which tenure expired as Chairman of ECOWAS at the meeting, emphasized that substantial financial resources are crucial to operationalize the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) and combat terrorism, banditry and violent extremism.

He urged member states to honour their financial obligations to enable ECOWAS to meet the expectations and recommendations of its ministers of Defense and Finance.

He said he believes that fulfilling these commitments will help stabilize the region and counter insecurity.

He noted that by meeting their financial commitments, ECOWAS member states will demonstrate their dedication to regional security and cooperation, enabling the community to better address the security challenges facing West Africa.

Tinubu said: “Let me underscore that a peaceful and secure society is essential for achieving our potentials, move to operationalise the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) in combating terrorism, I must emphasise that the success of this plan requires, not only strong political will, but also substantial financial resources.

“We must therefore ensure that we meet the expectations and recommendations set forth by our ministers of Defense and Finance in order to counter the insecurity and stabilise our region. Member states must make extra commitment on providing resources for stabilizing the region.

“To this end, I urge ECOWAS to leverage on the capability of the Nigeria National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), which is widely acknowledge as one of the best on the continent.

“The Nigerian government has decided to declare the NCTC as a regional centre to enable all ECOWAS member states benefit from capacity building and other related opportunities it offers.

“Your excellencies, dear heads of state, I urge those of you with time to visit the centre before your departure and assess first-hand on the facilities and the capabilities of NCTC”, President Tinubu said.

He also urged ECOWAS member states to unite and develop innovative approaches to unlock the region’s economic potential and promote prosperity.

Tinubu while acknowledging the economic hurdles hindering progress, stressed the need for partnerships, investment, and infrastructure development.

He emphasized the importance of a conducive business environment to stimulate growth and build resilience against external shocks.

He said in order to address the financial challenges facing subregional bloc, member states need to comply with the protocol on community levies to ensure adequate resources for the organisation’s  programmes, assuring of Nigeria’s commitment not to default on its own finance commitments.

President Tinubu said: “I’m also fully aware of other challenges confronting our region, especially the economic hurdles that hinder our progress to elevate our people from poverty to prosperity. It is imperative that we unite as a community and develop innovative approaches to unleash our vast economic potentials.

“We must continue to identify and develop partnerships that promote investment in key sectors and promote regional trade.

“Furthermore we must invest in our infrastructure and cultivate a conducive business environment to empower our community to stimulate growth and build resilience against external shock. Together we can pave the way for a prosperous future for all  ECOWAS countries

“I also acknowledge the financial challenges of our organization. Difficult economic conditions and consistent payment of financial commitment to ECOWAS have contributed to the current plight, to ensure ECOWAS has adequate resources for its programmes and activities, I urge all member states to ensure full compliance to the protocol on the community levy.

“Nigeria, under my leadership, is committed to leading by example by remitting its collected levies to the organisation”, he said.

On his part, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray, said the region has proven that democracy is alive given the successful transition in Senegal, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia, in recent time.

He added that: “We look forward to the consolidation of this trend in the region as we prepare for a major election in Ghana later this year.”

Touray however warned that the region was still being confronted with multidimensional challenges which seems to overshadow the modest achievements of the region.

He said: “Our region is still confronted with multiple interlocking threats, including existential works. This include climatic and man-made crisis, leading to terrorism and violent extremism and food insecurity. Livelihoods continued to be threatened by illegal and unsustainable exploitation of our land, forest and marine resources.

“Governance deficit and marginalisation have strained social contracts, engendering bitter rivalries and unhealthy competition. To complicate the situation, our region has become the arena of geo-strategic and geo-political rivalries and the theatre of misinformation and disinformation that engenders mistrust among and within communities and undermine social cohesion.”

Touray also informed the gathering that the Commission has commenced preparation towards the 50th anniversary celebration of the regional body.

He disclosed that the Commission is proposing a Special Extra-ordinary Summit on the future of the Community.

He said: ” It is however important to note that we will be celebrating our golden jubilee in a context marked by geostrategic and geopolitical rivalries that have not spared our region.

“We must therefore be proactive in our response to these developments. It is for this reason that the Commission is proposing a Special Extra-ordinary Summit on the future of our Community.

“The Honourable Ministers have considered this proposal and instructed that a Memorandum be submitted for your consideration. “

Deji Elumoye and Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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