Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo has urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders in the ECOWAS region to root out terrorism, saying West Africa does not deserve a terrorist reputation.
Mr Akufo-Addo made the call in his opening speech during the ECOWAS parliament’s first extraordinary session in 2021 to strengthen the fight against security, democracy, stability, and economic recovery of the sub-region.
The Ghanaian president said despite the best efforts in dealing with the menace by the ECOWAS leaders, there were persistent attempts to destabilise several countries of the ECOWAS community.
He said they included attacks on state symbols, civilian populations, and military bases as experienced in Niger, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria.
“This is not a reputation we deserve, and we must work together urgently to change the narrative,” Mr Akufo-Addo added.
He further said peace and security and safeguarding the democratic institutions of member states were currently a major challenge for the region.
“We cannot sufficiently reiterate the importance of peace and stability to the growth and development of our region. It is important that we consolidate our efforts in rooting out terrorism and threats of terrorism in West Africa,” Mr Akuffo-Addo pointed out.
Mr Akuffo-Addo added that apart from the people of the region living in constant fear of uncertainty, the region could not expect to attract the requisite levels of investment should the state of insecurity persists.
He pointed out that the ECOWAS region must take more rigorous actions in coordinating measures to bring terrorism to an end in the region.
Mr Akufo-Addo also said the region must, in the same vein, pay equal attention to bringing an end to insecurity in the maritime space in the Gulf of Guinea, which is today, the greatest hotbed of piracy in the entire world.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has met Mr Akufo-Addo behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after the ECOWAS meeting.