Foreign Affairs Minister Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has revealed that terrorists have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and are exploiting the ECOWAS sub-region.
According to Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the security and economic challenges in the Sahel have undermined the socio-economic development of the ECOWAS region and these challenges have been exacerbated by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic which has taken over the attention and resources of both international and domestic actors.
“Terrorism and acts perpetrated by violent extremists in the Sahel-Saharan region have become trans-border threats, with the potential to spread to coastal states in West Africa. The acts of terrorism have, unfortunately, assumed worrisome proportions over the past several months”, she disclosed this at the first meeting of the International Coalition of Sahel.
She said ECOWAS, therefore, launched the 2020 – 2024 Action Plan to end terrorism in the ECOWAS region, with a general framework, a strategy, a funding mechanism and priority areas to maintain the momentum in the fight against terrorism.
In response to the stated security threats issues, which borders on human rights, the Minister called for integrated and multisectoral solutions, while expressing displeasure over the “uncoordinated and unstructured operations of multiple actors with different interests within the region” which have not promoted efforts to achieve set goals.
She was however hopeful that an upcoming Summit in Pau, France, will go down in history as ground-breaking and therefore urged all members of this coalition to commit themselves to the rules and collaborate with the Sahel countries, ECOWAS and the African Union.