Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey
Ghana’s caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has stated that security in the West Africa sub-region, particularly, in the Sahel continues to remain an ECOWAS priority.
She made this known in her opening address at the 45th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS.
Speaking during the session held on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, she reiterated that security challenges posed to the sub-region by terrorist groups.
She recounted that “let me note that this meeting is being held on the heels of a twin attack recorded in Western Niger, on 2nd January 2021, which killed at least 100 people, injured 25 others and forced hundreds to flee.”
She added that similar attacks from suspected members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram have taken place in the Lake Chad Basin.
“These acts of terror and their humanitarian implications prompt the urgency to strengthen our collective actions in the fight against terrorism and organised crime,” she said.
“It is within this context that we continue to focus attention on the implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan against Terrorism and the need to redouble our collective efforts in honouring the financial obligations made towards the implementation of the 2020-2024 Priority Action Plan to combat terrorism in West Africa,” according to Madam Ayorkor Botchwey.
“While we continue to build on our growing democratic credentials, we must also strengthen democratic institutions and deliver good governance to our citizens,” she said.
” Last year, elections were held in six (6) of our countries, namely, Togo, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Niger. These elections have demonstrated ECOWAS’ growing democratic credentials. I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate the elected Presidents in these countries. At the same time, we look forward to the conduct of a successful run-off elections in Niger on 21st February, 2021, as well as the forthcoming presidential elections in Benin, Cape Verde and The Gambia in 2021,” she recounted.
“While we take stock of the progress made in Mali to return the country to constitutional order, we wish to encourage the Malian people and the Transitional Government to remain committed to the roadmap in the interest of stability towards a peaceful conduct of elections in 2022.”
” ECOWAS mediation will continue with the support of the ECOWAS Mediator, H.E Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Concerted efforts should and would be made to ensure that the Transitional Government stays on course.”
By Melvin Tarlue