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Tinubu pushes for ECOWAS standby force

President Bola Tinubu has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to establish a regional standby force to address security challenges and promote economic development within the community.


This call was made during the opening of the 65th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Abuja.


As the Chairman of the regional bloc, Tinubu emphasized the importance of a standby force in countering increasing security threats. He highlighted the Regional Action Plan against Terrorism, which has bolstered cooperation in training, intelligence sharing, and humanitarian interventions. Recently, ECOWAS Ministers of Finance and Defence convened in Abuja to raise funds to activate this standby force to enhance counter-terrorism efforts.


“Member states are demonstrating their commitment to security by increasing their defence budgets, acquiring essential equipment, and ensuring preparedness,” said Tinubu. He stressed the necessity of substantial financial resources and strong political will to operationalize the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF).


Tinubu also proposed that ECOWAS leverage Nigeria’s National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as a regional hub to benefit all member states through capacity building and other opportunities.


Furthermore, he called for the ECOWAS management to prioritize reducing overhead costs and re-aligning its priorities to ensure financial stability. He urged all member states to comply with the Protocol on the Community Levy to secure adequate resources for ECOWAS programs and activities.


Tinubu congratulated Senegal on the recent presidential election, welcoming President Bassirou Diomaye Faye as a new member of the Authority. He praised Senegal’s commitment to democratic governance, citing the election as a testament to the region’s dedication to democracy, good governance, and the rule of law.


The 65th session of ECOWAS will address various regional concerns, including the spread of terrorism from the Sahel region and the fragile political landscape in some member states. Tinubu called for unity within the community and emphasized the need for innovative approaches to unlock the region’s economic potential.


“Investing in infrastructure and creating a conducive business environment is crucial for stimulating growth and building resilience against external shocks,” Tinubu stated. He also sought support for re-electing Ambassador Bankole Adeoye as AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security in February 2025.


Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, commended Tinubu’s leadership and reiterated that ECOWAS should be defined by development rather than conflicts and political instability. He noted that the exit of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger from ECOWAS would have significant implications, including the need for visas and the review of trade and development agreements.


This session highlighted the pressing need for collective efforts to enhance security and foster economic growth across West Africa.


 

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