The objective of making West Africa a borderless, prosperous and cohesive community will be impossible without peace and security.
President Muhammadu Buhari made this assertion on Saturday at the 54th ordinary session of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, held in Abuja.
He said the determination to achieve the objective of a prosperous and peaceful West Africa informed the attention he had given to peace and security as chairman of the community.
He stressed that the efforts at ensuring peace and security had however been yielding fruits.
His words: “Indeed, as a Community, our aspiration is to create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region, based on good governance and where our people have the capacity to access and harness its resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable development, job creation and environmental preservation.
“These lofty ideals are however not attainable without peace and security. That is why I have decided to make the issue of peace and security the major focus of my Chairmanship. I am happy to inform this august assembly that our efforts have started yielding dividends as we have been able to douse tension and restore confidence in some potentially disruptive political situations, particularly in Guinea Bissau, Togo and Mali.”
Buhari said it was unfortunate that terrorism and violent extremism had continued to threaten the peace and security in the sub-region.
According to him, the threat could only be overcome with a collective action on the part of the different countries in the sub-region.
“As we work on new strategies to combat and eradicate this menace, we require the support of our partners to ensure the achievement of our objectives.
“Still on sub-regional peace, as you are all aware, Nigeria and Senegal will hold general elections in February 2019. On my part, I have already made a pledge to conduct free, fair and credible elections,” he added.