Nigeria tasks new ECOWAS leadership on lingering issues
Nigeria has called on the President Sissoco Embaló-led new leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), alongside a newly composed Commission, to work harder to resolve lingering issues in the region.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the call, yesterday while speaking with journalists at the end of the 61st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS held in Accra, Ghana.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo did an excellent job in a very challenging period in the history of ECOWAS and many of the challenges remain. So, we expect that the new leadership will take over and work as hard and perhaps much harder to resolve some of the issues. There are even additional challenges today – economic challenges, especially with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and economic problems.
“Other issues are the coups that have taken place in the region in the past couple of years, and we are still trying to resolve some of those,” the Vice President said.
He noted further: “The new leadership under President Sissoco Embaló (Guinea-Bissau) must step up efforts and address those very many responsibilities the region faces today.”
Osinbajo, however, added that besides the challenges, the region is witnessing appreciable progress in the ECOWAS common currency policy, noting there are things “we should be happy about.”
“Also, there is progress being made on the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor, some of the issues around the movement of goods and services on that corridor. These are some of the very important decisions that were taken, and I think progress is being made,” Osinbajo said.
Earlier, at the opening session of the summit, chaired by Akufo-Addo, the efforts and commitment of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and in addressing other challenges across the region were appreciated by the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.
Akufo-Addo said: “Let me address, on behalf of all of us, our thanks to our esteemed colleague, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who, in his capacity as champion in the coordination of the fight against COVID-19, has spared no effort in this endeavour.”
Akufo-Addo then recognised Nigeria’s leadership role in addressing other challenges across the region, especially the menace of coups, terrorism, and deteriorating humanitarian situations.
He said: “Indeed, following the failed coup d’état of February 1, 2022, in Guinea Bissau and our emergency summit of February 3, 2022, we decided to deploy an ECOWAS Standby Force to support the stability of the country and President Embalo’s elected government.
“That deployment of 609 security personnel, composed of 150 Nigerian troops and 140 Nigerian police personnel, 150 Senegalese troops, 100 Ghanaian troops and 59 troops from Cote d’Ivoire, with a force headquarters of 80 officers drawn from across the region, under the overall command of a Nigerian general and force commander, has now been completed.”