The meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff ended with a call on member states to strengthen collaborations and partnerships to ensure peace and security in the region.
Speaking at the end of the meeting on Thursday in Abuja, the Chairman of the committee, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, who made the call, said that peace and security in the region could help member states to achieve the Vision 2020.
Olonisakin, recalled that the security challenges faced in the region were worrisome and a “great danger for our collective security”.
He said that experience had shown that political disturbances in member states had the capacity to destabilise the region with associated humanitarian consequences.
He further said that some of the security threats were transnational in nature requiring multinational cooperation and collaboration to effectively tackle.
He said: “In the course of the 39th Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff, we have examined the implementation of the recommendations of the last meeting.
“We have also received updates and reviewed some of our peace support operations including ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia and ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau, maritime security in our region and other security issues affecting the region.
“The main essence of our discussion is to make appropriate recommendations to our political leaders, the Authority of Heads of State and Government.”
The chairman encouraged the other defence chiefs to adequately brief the leaderships of their various countries on decisions reached during the meeting.
He added: “This will assist the political leadership in their deliberations and decisions that will be taken during their meeting.”
The two-day meeting stressed the need for representatives of member states to ensure that recommendations made were shared with the various national governments for implementation.
The recommendations made were, however, read out.
During the meeting, defence chiefs expressed concern over transnational organised crime, maritime insecurity, and the proliferation of small arms as well as light weapons.
Also discussed was the spread of terrorism threat in the region as being witnessed in some member states.
In addition to the security situation in the region, the defence chiefs reviewed the status of the confirmation of pledges by member states for the new structure of the ECOWAS Standby Force, the ECOWAS missions in Guinea Bissau and The Gambia, the G5 Sahel Force and the fight against terrorism, among others.