President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged African leaders to continue supporting the fight against terrorism in the sub-region.
The President addressing the 58th ECOWAS Ordinary Session through a virtual meeting, he said the sub-region continue to face critical security challenges with deadly terrorist attacks in Mali, northeastern Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
He reaffirmed ECOWAS strongest condemnation of these attacks in our Region and Community, and deplore the activities of these criminal, terrorist groups.
“We sympathise and extend our deep condolences to affected countries and the families of the victims.”
According to him, “these developments must reinforce our conviction that we must pursue, even more vigorously, the actions we have begun, with the rapid implementation of the decisions of our Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism, held on 14th September 2019. This concerted effort, which must be a major priority objective of the Community, is the best way for us to address collectively the security challenge, and give ourselves the means to ensure the security of the populations of our Community. Our dignity and our sovereignty are at stake.”
He commended countries who have contributed to the fight against terrorism saying: “I thank all Member States that are making significant efforts to support our initiatives, in this regard, especially those that have begun to pay their financial contribution to the one billion United States dollar (US$1 billion) ECOWAS Regional Security Fund (ERSF), created in support of the 2020-2024 Anti-Terrorism Action Plan. Raising this money has to be a high priority for us, because it enables us to act independently in this crisis. Your Excellencies will recall that the 2019 Summit created the Fund to cover a five (5) year period, 2020-2024. The UEMOA countries committed to contribute five hundred million United States dollars (US$500 million), whilst the Federal Republic of Nigeria also pledged three hundred and fifty million dollars (US$350 million); leaving a balance of one hundred and fifty million dollars (US$150 million) for the six (6) remaining countries and other sources.
Out of the five hundred million United States dollars ($500 million) pledged by the UEMOA countries, one hundred million ($100 million) has been disbursed directly to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to assist them in their anti-terrorism activities. We have yet to be informed of the status of the balance of the pledge. Out of the Nigerian pledge of three hundred and fifty million dollars ($350 million), one hundred million dollars ($100 million) was pledged for 2020, out of which eighty million dollars ($80 million) was to be used directly by them in their fight against terrorism on their northern border, and twenty million dollars ($20 million) was to go to the Fund. The Commission is awaiting confirmation transfer instructions for this amount, which will then leave a balance of two hundred and fifty million dollars to be contributed to the Fund by Nigeria.”
He added: “Ghana, on its part, has decided to pledge fifty million dollars ($50 million) over the five (5) year period, of which ten million dollars ($10 million) is destined for the Fund, and forty million dollars ($40 million) for the domestic empowerment of our border security against potential terrorist incursions. Half of the ten million dollars ($10 million), i.e., five million dollars ($5 million), has been paid by Ghana into the ESRF account, of which confirmation transfer instructions for this payment has been received.
The remaining one hundred million dollars ($100 million), which is to be voluntarily paid by the other five (5) countries and other sources, will complete the establishment of the entire Fund. We need to do this as quickly as possible.
We also need to engage on the growing menace to the maritime security of our region. Acts of piracy and maritime destabilization are on rapid increase in the Gulf of Guinea, illustrated by the data, which indicate a forty percent (40%) rise in pirate activities in the Gulf in 2020 over 2019. This calls for a strong regional response,” he concluded.