ECOWAS Chairman John Mahama has said postponing Nigeria?s forthcoming national elections will mean victory for Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, which has ravaged Africa?s most populous country with heinous killings.

There are fears in Nigeria and within the sub-regional bloc that the February elections present a security threat, since Boko haram could easily take advantage of the event to kill more innocent Nigerians.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra Friday, the Ghanaian President said: ?Ecowas is in touch with the Nigerian authorities and as you are aware, we are going to have international monitoring groups taking part and observing the Nigerian elections and so it is in touch with both the authorities and the electoral commission in Nigeria to ensure that the elections are successful and take place appropriately.?

?The elections must go forward and all efforts are being done to ensure that the elections take place.

?Nigeria cannot delay those elections because of Boko Haram; It would have given Boko haram a victory it does not deserve,? Mahama said.Boko Haram, which has a membership of between 6,000 and 8,000 was formed in 2002. It has killed thousands of Nigerian and caused the displacement of about 1.5 million people.

It recently, on January 3, 2015, killed, according to local reports, close to 2,000 people at Baga.

Nigeria?s defence ministry has, however, estimated the number of people killed to be not more than 150.

The terrorist group sacked the entire town during the attack. Some survivors fled to neighbouring Chad.

Last weekend, at least 23 people were killed by three female suicide bombers, one reported to be 10 years old.

In April 2014, the group kidnapped more than 270 schoolgirls in a village called Chibok.

Though some of the girls escaped to freedom, a lot more of them are still in captivity.

Apart from Chibok, several schools have been burnt and students burnt alive in towns and areas in the northeastern part of Nigeria by the terrorist group which is averse to any form of Western education.

Meanwhile Mr Mahama has urged his colleague African Leaders to merge forces in fighting terrorism on the Continent, particularly in Nigeria.

?We must find a way to act together, to share information, to synchronise our strategies and to pull our resources in order to rid the entire African continent of terrorism so that we can retrain our focus on development, educating our children, improving our health care systems and growing our economies,? Mahama said.

Mahama has called on the sub-regional body to review the ECOWAS protocol on terrorism so as to help effectively confront terrorism on the Continent Mahama.

?I?m requesting that in the light of this situation, we will define our protocols, these are extraordinary times that call for measures that are equally extraordinary,? he observed.

The Ghanaian President said ECOWAS abhors any act of terrorism on the Continent and thus condemns such activities when they happen.

?Immediately we received reports on the most recent attacks, ECOWAS issued a statement condemning them and reaffirming our stance in solidarity with Nigeria.?

Mahama said a scheduled African Union summit will be used to discuss issues relating to terrorism and find a way forward.

?As the chairman of ECOWAS, I am requesting a special session at the upcoming 24th African Union summit in order to discuss and plan; not as separate sub-regions but as one united continent, the way forward in our collective fight against terrorism.?

?It is my intention for us to emerge from that session with a specific plan on action o deal permanently with the issue of terror from on continent.?

Source: StarrFMonline


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