The 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council (MSC) at the Ministerial Level successfully opens in Abuja, Nigeria, today, December 06, 2023. This high-level meeting prioritised discussions on pivotal regional concerns concerning peace, security, and development.
The attendance at the meeting reflected the seriousness of the matters to be discussed notably peace, security, and stability in the West African region.
In his welcome address, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission highlighted the gravity of the political, security and humanitarian challenges experienced in some member states.
President Touray said the region is confronted with complex security and governance challenges, including terrorism and violent extremism, inter-communal and armed conflicts, trans-national organized crime, democratic reversals, and dire humanitarian situations.
He added that the region continued to witness the menace of military coup d’état and its negative impact on political governance, peace, and security.
Presenting an update on the transition roadmaps and timetables agreed with the transition authorities in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso for a rapid and peaceful restoration of constitutional order, Dr. Touray said that these timetables have been implemented at varied paces amid worsening security situations.
He disclosed that the attempted coup d’état in Niger has further distracted attention from the support to these transition processes as the transition countries seek to forge a solidarity with the military authorities in the Republic of Niger, thereby creating an impression of a divide between them and ECOWAS.
Dr. Touray also stressed the impact of unconstitutional change and coup d’e’tat as drivers of insecurity in the region noting that there were 1503 incidences of terrorist attacks recorded in Burkina Faso from January 1st to October 22, 2023, 1044 in Mali and 376 in Niger since the coup.
The humanitarian consequences of insecurity have been dire as seen in
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger where a total of 4.8 million people face food insecurity, 2.4 million people are internally displaced and close to 9000 schools remain closed.
The Chairperson of the Mediation and Security Council and Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar encouraged the Ministers to proffer solutions to address the current challenges, with a view to engendering sustainable peace and stability in the region.
The MSC precedes the meeting of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers scheduled to hold in Abuja from November 6 to 7, 2023, where the report of the meeting will be adopted.