The Commission on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) has called for increased funding, information and intelligence sharing and synergy in cross-border security initiatives among Member States to support counter terrorism strategy in the region.
The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commissions General Francis Benhazin said through a proxy during a meeting that a soft approach which involves the need to have a deeper understanding of the dynamics of violent extremism in the region remains the most potent and long term solution against violent extremism.
General Benhazin’s proxy, ECOWAS Standby Force Head of Regional Security Colonel Dieng Abdourahmane stated: ‘We believe that the fight against violent extremism can only be successful through an integrated and comprehensive approach which ranges from local, state, national, regional, continental to the
He added that if aptly implemented, the prevention pillar of the counter terrorism strategy will address the drivers of violent Extremism.
Chairing the meeting, former ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman noted that good governance and sustainable develop will help to address development deficits that mostly underline the emergence of violent extremist groups.
The Deputy Executive Director of WANEP, Mrs. Levinia Addae-Mensah in her remarks, mentioned that the terrorism being encountered in ECOWAS Member States such as Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso may have far reaching consequences which could affect future generations.
She said it had become important to create a platform to review and evaluate the various approaches to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism.
The policy dialogue meeting was held following a year-long research undertaken by WANEP to interrogate the root causes and dynamics of violent extremism in West Africa.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data in West Africa (REWARD) initiative and Member States.–Press release