The Federal Government has called on the new ECOWAS Commission President to build on the achievements of the outgone president.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama said this at a handover ceremony for the incoming president, vice president and commissioners at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja.
Onyeama lauded the achievements made in the sub-region since the assumption of duty of the outgoing president in 2012. He was represented by the Director of ECOWAS Unit of the ministry, Mr. Manaja Isa, according to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report.
The minister noted that ECOWAS had made “remarkable progress” in the areas of Free Movement of Persons and Right of Residence and Establishment, enhanced efficiency in conflicts and crises prevention and resolution.
He also noted the progress made in enhancing integration in the sub-region with the introduction of the CET, the creation of a single currency in 2020 and adoption of a single biometric identity card.
“Remarkable progress was also made in the enhancement of democratic rule and most importantly, maintenance of peace and regional security.”
He urged the incoming president to build on the achievements of his predecessor and focus on the challenges of security.
“Regrettably, we have devoted a lot of resources, both human and material, on security. These could have been better used to reduce our infrastructure deficit, towards addressing security challenges in the Sahel Region and the Gulf of Guinea as well as the scourge of terrorism.
“Urgent and concerted actions are required to address the security architecture of the sub-region. It is our hope that the sub-region’s organs for prevention, management and resolution of conflict would be strengthened for proactive and pre-emptive action,” he said.
He also added that there was a need for member countries to make conscientious efforts to improve on governance and accountability “at all levels”. He further called for enhanced cooperation between the sub-regional bloc and its development partners.
Speaking with newsmen, the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza assured stakeholders that he would build on the accomplishments of the outgone president.
Alain de Souza also said he would facilitate efforts in ensuring that existing challenges in the sub-region were effectively addressed.
“I congratulate the ECOWAS Commission President, Kadré Ouedraogo for all the achievements that he has executed on behalf of ECOWAS; I wish to say that I subscribe to the spirit of continuity.
“He has mentioned several challenges but there have been achievements as well; he has achieved the ECOWAS CET and we shall therefore deepen our monetary integration. We do have the challenges of terrorism I will see to it that ECOWAS citizens and governments pull their efforts to fight terrorism so that we can deepen security.
“There are also challenges in the area of health. We must make sure that Ebola does not rear its ugly head again”, he added.
He further assured stakeholders that the commission would develop new modalities to facilitate the integration process in sub-region.
“I said earlier that we need to have an ECOWAS taxi that will travel within member states so that citizens will be able to understand that they truly belong to a single economy. We look forward to all this with the support of the host country; we shall also seek to rationalise expenditure to deepen integration and to enhance the well-being of our citizens.”