39th Ordinary Meeting of ECOWAS chiefs of Defence Staff opens in Abuja20 Jun, 2019
Abuja, 19th June 2019. The 39th Ordinary Meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) opened today Wednesday, 19th June 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria to review the security situation in the region.
In addition to the security situation in the region, the Defence Chiefs will review the status of the confirmation of pledges by Member States for the new structure of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), the ECOWAS missions in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB) and The Gambia (ECOMIG), the G5 Sahel Force and the fight against terrorism, among others.
General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff of Nigeria, while welcoming the Defence Chiefs, highlighted the need for collective actions by Member States as well as collaborations with other stakeholders and partners in other to combat the menace of security challenges in the region.
He added that lasting security and stability can be achieved in the Region through frequent interactions of ECOWAS CCDS, intensifying intelligence gathering and joint operations.
The outgoing Chairman of the ECOWAS CCDS and the Chief of Defence Staff of the Togolese Republic, Major General Kadangah Abalo, represented by Brigadier General Komlan Adjitowou thanked the Defence Chiefs for the solidarity and support given to him during his two years tenure as the Chairman of the CCDS.
Also speaking at the opening, General Francis Awagbé Béhanzin, the Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission said the meeting is holding when the region is faced with security challenges like the proliferation of terrorist attacks and small arms and light weapons, piracy and illegal acts at sea, conflicts between farmers and herders, among others.
He highlighted that the cross-border nature of the threats led to the holding of the ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Joint Heads of State and Government Summit on peace, security and stability.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Nigeria, Mrs. Nuratu Batagarawa in her opening remarks expressed concern over transnational organised crime, maritime insecurity and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Also worrisome, she added is the spread of terrorism threat in the region as being witnessed in some Member States.
She urged the Defence Chiefs to find lasting solutions to these challenges through training and intelligence sharing.