Nigeria pushes for regional security at ECOWAS parliament meeting

Nigeria is rallying West African nations to collectively enhance regional security as part of its agenda as ECOWAS Chair.

This formed a key highlight of the report presented at the ongoing 2023 second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

Presenting the report, Nigerian representative Lynda Ikeazu said the country wants a “harmonisation of the regional security agenda geared towards a mutual linked security goals.”

According to Ikeazu, “Given the transnational nature of the threats, non-military peace efforts would take priority over an overly militarised approach to security. A military approach has had the unintended effect of protracted armed conflicts across West Africa.”

She referenced President Bola Tinubu’s prioritisation of security in his ECOWAS vision, quoting his words that “without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive.”

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The session also heard reports from Cape Verde, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and The Gambia likewise stressing security. Cape Verde said it “has invested heavily in securing its borders” but warned that “it has numerous shelters on all the islands, which has been exploited with some intensity in the relatively recent past by drug traffickers.”

For Senegal, its report noted that, while largely stable, “there are still pockets of hostilities around the borders with Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Gambia in the Casamance region.”

The Gambian presentation cited successes from ongoing security reforms but added that “all these efforts are geared towards guaranteeing the protection of human rights and non-recurrence of the violation of fundamental human rights by security forces.”

ECOWAS parliament speaker Sidie Tunis presided over the session attended by delegations pushing for regional cohesion against terrorism and transnational crimes threatening West Africa’s economic progress.

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