The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on Sunday warned member states against alliances seeking to divide the community and destroy its fragile unity.
The subregional body took the stand on Sunday at the end of the 64th Ordinary session f the Authority of the Heads of States and Government of ECOWAS held in Abuja.
According to the communique presented at the end of the meeting, the Authority said it “rejected all forms of alliances that seek to divide the region and promote foreign interests in the region” but called on “member states to ensure regional unity of action by strictly adhering to collective decisions taken at the level of the authority. This is part of the community of the session of excellencies the heads of state and government of the UK was authority.”
On democracy and good governance, the authority directed the ECOWAS Commission to undertake deep reflection with stakeholders on the relationship between electoral processes, democracy and development and make actionable recommendations on increasing the transparency and credibility of elections and promoting inclusive development and accountable governance.
On the situation in Niger Republic, the ECOWAS leaders agreed to ” set up a committee of state made up of the President and head of state of the Republic of Togo, the President and the head of state of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the President and head of state of the Republic of Benin, to engage with CNSP and other stakeholders to agree on a short transition roadmap, establishing a transition.
The authority expressed deep concerns as it decried the continued detention of President Mohammed Baozum, his family and Associates by the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) administration.
The authority, while deploring the lack of commitment on the part of the CNSP to restore constitutional order. Consequently, the authority called on the body to release President Mohammed Baozom, his family and Associates immediately and without condition.
The authority further instructed the commission to intensify consultation with member states to finalize and present for adoption the draft revised Supplementary Protocol on democracy and good governance.
ECOWAS leaders also directed the commission to embark on deep reflection and explore the power and the possibility of an extraordinary summit on unconstitutional change of government.
On the Gambia, the authority urges the government and stakeholders to expedite the adoption of the new constitution ahead of the 2026 general elections, as well as the implementation of the white paper on the recommendation of the truth, reparation and Reconciliation Commission.
It also decided to extend the mandate of the ECOWAS mission in the Gambia economy for one year. It instructed the mission to continue to support the Gambia in the implementation of the white paper needed for defence and security sector reforms, just as it condemned the violence that erupted in Bissau on the first of December 2023, which attempted to disrupt the constitutional order and the rule of law in Guinea Bissau.
The Authority instructed the ECOWAS Commission to continue to support Sierra Leone. It directed the commission to facilitate the deployment of an ECOWAS standby Aqua security mission ( ECOWAS standby force) to Sierra Leone to help stabilize this country.
“On Senegal, the authority takes note of the preparations towards the 25th February 2024 presidential election and urged the government and stakeholders in the electoral process to continue to prioritize inclusivity and transparency towards the conduct of the poll, the authority or just all stakeholders to ensure strict adherence to constitutional norms, ECOWAS protocols and the rule of law in the management of the electoral processes and other related matters to further strengthen the country’s democratic culture.
On the fight against terrorism and other related security issues, the authority asserts its commitment to the eradication of terrorism and other threats to the peace, security and stability of the region.
“To this end, the authority instructed the commission to urgently resume efforts to activate the Aqua standby force in its kinetic mode for counterterrorism operations in zones infested by terrorist groups.
“The authority also instructed the commission to expedite the convening of the meeting of ministers of finance and defence to agree on the modalities for the mobilization of internal financial, human and material resources on a mandatory basis to support the deployment of the regional counterterrorism force.
“The authority takes note of the commencement of assignment by the special envoy of counterterrorism, Baba Kamara, and directed the commission to facilitate his mission. Their authority directs the commission to intensify collaboration with sub-regional counterterrorism initiatives such as the Accra initiative and the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“The authority urged member states to increase funding for joint maritime operations and exercises in the region and to improve coordination and collaboration among various ministries, departments, and agencies responsible for maritime security on the political situation in the Republic of Nigeria,
” The Authority recalled its decision at its extraordinary summit of 30 July 2023 and 10th August 2023. Regarding the political situation in the Republic of Nigeria, the authority commends the efforts of the Chair of Authority, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, towards a peaceful resolution of the political crisis.