The ECOWAS Commission interfaced with political Officers and Military Advisors of the Diplomatic Corps to examine among others, the impact of the disruptions of constitutional order in some ECOWAS Member States and its security, socio-political, economic as well as geo- political implications for the region.
The hybrid interface, through a comprehensive briefing which physically took place in Abuja, Nigeria on the 31st of May, 2022 was also meant to compare notes and proactively chart a way forward for a more stable, peaceful West Africa.
In his opening statement at the briefing, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security General Francis Behanzin flagged a worrying trend whereby the resurgence of coups in parts of the region have paradoxically also received massive support from some citizens of the affected states.
He maintained that the development “calls for urgent and sustained engagements of various stakeholders for long lasting solutions not only to mitigate but to also address the fundamental causes of this resurgence”
Stressing the need to make concrete push back recommendations, Commissioner Behanzin pointed to the imperativeness for an exchange between ECOWAS and its partners, the diplomatic corps in the ECOWAS neighbouring countries and Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to “deliberate and come up with strategies and requisite recommendations that will be considered in our intervention efforts”
The theme of the briefing was, ‘The Impact of Military Incursions in the Constitutional Order in the ECOWAS Region’. The lead presenter and resource person by Professor Femi Mimiko, emphasized the importance of “making governance more responsive to the needs of the people”. He submitted, “If we do not deal with corruption, we will not be in a good conscience to stop coups”.
The briefing was enriched by goodwill messages from partners. The Executive Director, West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) Dr. Chukwuemeka Eze, stressed the need for stronger synergy between governments at all levels with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to complement governments in anticipating, preventing and resolving conflicts.
On her part, the Executive Director, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Madam Ann Iyonu commended ECOWAS for the remarkable peacebuilding efforts over the years. She called for a systemic shift in the ECOWAS operational approach for addressing the emerging threats to peace and security in the region.
The Deputy Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS Mr. Alexander Borges Gomes restated the EU’s support of the ECOWAS peacebuilding efforts including the maritime sector and regional stability as a whole.
In attendance at the briefing were, political Officers and Military Advisors of the Diplomatic Corps, the EU, UNOWAS, GIZ, ECOWAS Commission staff and Civil Society Organisations.