BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA — SPEAKER of the Parliament, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has called on the new Chairman of the group, President John Mahama of Ghana, to declare total war against terrorism within member states.
Senator Ekweremadu, who is the Nigeria Deputy Senate President, urged the leadership of ECOWAS to have as its priority war against terrorism and youth unemployment.
He made the call, yesterday, during a meeting with President Mahama at State House, in Accra, Ghana, .
He said: “Ghana is a very important country in this sub-region. In terms of democracy, you hold the light in this sub-region and we believe that emerging as the chairman of the ECOWAS will spread this light.
“However, our greatest challenges today are terrorism, militancy, and youth unemployment. It is our hope that addressing these challenges would be your top priorities.
We, at the ECOWAS Parliament, want to assure you of our solidarity and total support.”
Ekweremadu also advocated the convening of a summit of heads of state and government of both ECOWAS and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, to build better synergy and raise the capacity of member states to combat common enemies.
He made the advocacy at the opening of a two-day session on the challenges of border crossing and opportunities for trade and finance for ECOWAS countries, organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, Abuja, for members of the ECOWAS Parliament in Accra, Ghana,
Ekweremadu in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, emphasised that ECOWAS protocols on free movement should go hand-in-hand with adequate infrastructure and human capital capacity to police the borders.
He lamented the low inter-regional trade among West African nations, saying, is “very negligible, alarming, and embarrassing.”
Ekweremadu decried the alleged unscrupulous practices of uniformed officers on the West African corridors and the proliferation of border posts and security checkpoints, noting that these had combined to hinder the free movement of persons and goods, rather than promote regional integration and curb cross-border crimes.