ECOWAS urged to address violence and drug trafficking
Acting President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has called on leaders of the West African sub-region to collectively fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.
Speaking at the opening of the 37th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in Abuja, the Acting President asked his colleague leaders to explore ways and means of harnessing their collective energies and in partnership with the international community, stemmed the ugly tide of drug trafficking and terrorism.
Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills is among the Heads of State and Government attending the one-day summit, which is to re-commit the sub-regional body to the integration process and to elect a new chairman for the 15-member nation body.
Also on the agenda for the meeting is how to resolve the escalating crises affecting countries of the sub-region, like Togo, Niger and Ivory Coast.
The baton for the Position for President of the ECOWAS Commission would also change as the current President Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas is ending his term to take up a new appointment as Secretary General of the African, Carribean and Paficic Group.
The Summit would also discuss the report of last November’s meeting of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, as well as review internal activities of the group.
Dr Goodluck said West Africa felt the full impact of the international financial crisis, and stressed that it was imperative for countries to re-enegise the integration process to arrest the decline in economic growth, which fell from 4.7 in 2008 to 4.4 in 2009.
He touched on the common currency programme (the Eco) for the sub-region and called for the political will to implement it by ensuring that countries work hard to meet the convergence criteria.
Dr Goodluck also called on the leaders to ensure that the institutions of governance worked in their respective countries to pave the way for governments to deliver on the political gains achieved.
Outgoing President of the Commission, Dr Chambas said the prospects for the region for growth remained bright, but underlined the need to sustain the solidarity of the region in the face of threats to regional peace and security.
He said good governance enhances investor confidence and creates the enabling environment for peace and security and economic development of the region.
Dr Chambas expressed again the Commission’s sympathy to the Government and people of Togo for the loss of two members of their technical team at the just ended Angola 2010.
“In the face of the tragic loss of life and injuries sustained in the terrorist attack against the team, we are at a loss to understand the suspension of Togo from the next two CAF competitions.
“We join the AU in calling upon the CAF to show compassion and review the decision by rescinding the decision to suspend Togo,” Dr Chambas implored.