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ECOWAS commissioner calls for regional security sector reform

Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mrs. Salamatu H. Suleiman, has said profound changes are required at the regional and national levels for the reform of security sector in West Africa.

She said that these are vital elements for the achievement of sustainable development to strengthen democratic governance and human security.

Mrs. Suleiman, who said this at a two-day Consultative Workshop in Lagos for the Review of the Draft ECOWAS Regional Framework on Security Sector Reform and Governance (SSR/G), added that the reform had become imperative to enable ECOWAS fulfil its role of assisting Member States “to prevent, anticipate, prepare and respond better and faster to issues that could challenge security and
stability of the region.”

In a release made available by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, over the weekend, she said that developing the policy framework was timely given that the region has been faced with many political, security and humanitarian challenges, resulting from internal conflicts as exemplified in Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Commissioner Suleiman listed ECOWAS’ key regional security instruments to include the 1999 Protocol relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peace-keeping and Security, the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and the Supplementary Act and the Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces and Security Services.

She noted that these instruments seek to “underscore security as a subject that is not the exclusive preserve of the military and the political class, but also involves the participation of the civil society and other stakeholders as important partners in the process.”

In his welcome address, the Chief of Staff, ECOWAS Standby Force, Brig. Gen. Hassan Lai, said the primary objective of the workshop was to get the buy-in from the relevant ECOWAS Directorates and invited experts on the draft Guide Policy Framework of Security Reform and Governance (SSR/G).

He explained that the document, which is an appendage to various ECOWAS governance and security instruments including the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) 2008, “is in broader terms the concept of Human Security in the ECOWAS space.”

Also, the Head of Regional Security Division, ECOWAS Commission, Col. Abdourahmane Dieng, set the tone of discussion, by providing technical details and background on the document, which has been under development since 2009.

The process is led by the Regional Security Division under the Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department of the ECOWAS
Commission with the support of partners including the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Author(s) : Yinka Oni
Source : Today’s Telegraph


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