Saturday, January 28

Ecowas Forces to Neutralize Threats of Terrorism, Constitutional Orders-Dr. Omar Touray

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By Kebba Ansu Manneh

Dr. Omar Touray, President of the Ecowas Commission has reiterated that the formation of the Ecowas regional forces is designed to tackle not only threats of terrorism but as well deal with issues of unconstitutional disorders, disclosing that this decision was unanimously endorsed by Ecowas Heads of States in its last Summit in Abuja, Nigeria.

The President of the Ecowas Commission made these remarks among others at the launch of the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism Coordinating Center (NCCRM)-The Gambia on Tuesday 27th December 2022, at a local hotel in Banjul, where he said the instrument will go a long way in consolidating peace, stability, and security not only in the Gambia but across the region.

According to him, the decision to formulate the regional armed forces comes on the heels of recalibrating Ecowas leaders’ approach to regional peace and stability, highlighting that this regional force will not only support the member states in dealing with threats of terrorism but also threats to constitutional orders.

Dr. Touray revealed that the resolution of the regional Ecowas leaders designs new ways of tapping resources locally instead of depending on external funding to finance the peace and security of the region, adding that the Commission has been tasked with the duty of raising funds for this project as a means of cutting away from voluntary funding that has not been paying adequate results.

“History of our voluntary participation is not a happy one, if you look at the African Union Peace Fund, Africa’s contribution has never gone beyond 30 percent. From 2002 all the way to now, the same thing with the Ecowas Peace Fund, so the leaders have now demonstrated their resolve to ensure they contributed to their own peace and stability,” Dr. Omar Touray explained why the Ecowas Peacekeeping Force was established.

He added: “It is no more business as usual, the Chief of Staff met two weeks ago in Bissau just to see how to operationalize this decision of the Heads of State.” Dilating on the importance of the National Early Warning and Response Mechanism Coordinating Center (NCCRM)-The Gambia, the Ecowas Commission President observed that this national mechanism will be an important tool for supporting the authorities in addressing critical human security issues, adding that Gambia’s Early Warning Mechanism will be connected to the regional situation room as well as a mechanism that will be connected to other regional member states for joint analysis of regional threats and cross border issues.

Dr. Touray further disclosed that in September of this year staff of NCCRM)-The Gambia were trained by the early warning directorate on the concept, mandate, scope, vision, and tools of early warning and response mechanism, noting that Ecowas will contribute to enhancing their capacities in line with the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the national office.

Hon. Babucarr Joof, Minister of Trade of The Gambia responsible for Ecowas matters stated that the purpose of creating National Early Warming Centers is to improve the early warning capacities of member states which can allow them to proactively identify emerging crises and improve their response mechanism once the crisis begins, adding that through these centers Ecowas member states can share information, implement conflict prevention and manage the crisis while protecting human security at regional and national levels.

“The early warning and response programs will address numerous threats that Ecowas member states usually face in the following areas, in particular, crimes, security, governance, and environment. Maintaining peace and security in the Gambia and in the sub-region has always been the Gambia Government’s number one priority and among the four key criteria of the Commission to enhance peace and security is also number one thus there is a convergence between our government strategy and that of Ecowas,” Babucarr Joof, Minister of Trade disclosed at the launching.

Binta Singhateh, Executive Director of NCCRM)-The Gambia expressed her sincere appreciation to the Ecowas Commission and Ecowas Heads of State for adopting and implementing the regional Early Warning and Response Mechanism Coordinating Centers, while also extending similar gratitude to the European Union, GIZ among others for their selfless sacrifices in making the official launching possible.

Hon. Babucarr Bouy, Minister of Public Service, Administrative Reforms, Policy Coordination and Delivery who deputised for Vice President Badars Joof declared the official opening statement.