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ECOWAS brushes aside Boko Haram criticism

Posted on Friday, 10 February 2012 16:15

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission has dismissed accusations that it has failed to maintain regional stability in the face of escalating attacks by Nigeria’s terrorist organisation Boko Haram.

James Victor Gbeho, the president of the ECOWAS commission on Thursday said the critics were ignorant of the body’s intervention mechanisms.

“As I speak, few are aware that the organisation is quietly but vigorously pursuing its mediation efforts in Guinea, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and indeed, in Nigeria where a terrorist aggression dangerously threatens to provoke inter-ethnic religious confrontation,” he said.

Speaking at an ECOWAS workshop in Accra, Gbeho said it was not easy to “defeat faceless terrorist groups with decentralised and shifting command centres.”

Boko Haram, believed to be a terrorist-sponsored organisation in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for many of the terror attacks on civilians and institutions.

The group has called on the Nigerian government to abandon the constitution and use Sharia law to govern the country.

ECOWAS is a joke… Its response to the political crisis in West Africa is awful

Emmanuel Kwesi Aning, the director of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra noted that although Boko Haram posed a threat to the west African region as a whole, “ECOWAS is a joke.”

“Its response to the political crisis in West Africa is awful, our sub-regional leaders are quick to sign conventions and pass resolutions but (they are) inept in implementation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gbeho said ECOWAS would continue to accept constructive criticism and encourage intellectuals and researchers to offer practical solutions to fill the gaps in sub-regional conflict management and integration.

“In that respect, ECOWAS will share facts and innovative ideas about how to strengthen post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building capacities,” he said.

ECOWAS, he explained, had adopted protocols to enable it to move from reactive intervention to a more pro-active stance in conflict management through graduated, sustained, multi-actor and multi-level action.

Pro-active measures include continuous monitoring and assessment of conflict dynamics in the region through its early warning system.

This will help it to formulate appropriate responses; effective use of quiet diplomacy through an array of ECOWAS organs and actors such as the Council of the WISE, special envoys, mediators and facilitators; and deployment of fact-finding and observer missions to member states organising elections. Bobcat, fiskaro ir eskavatoriaus nuoma Vilniuje

Gbeho said as a result of the tenacity to which the regional body had applied its conflict management tools, West Africa was steadily shedding its tag as a region of conflict into a space of democratic consolidation and stability.

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