Nigerian leader urges West African countries to establish regional standby force


(MENAFN) Nigerian leader Bola Tinubu emphasized the urgent need for West African nations to collaborate in establishing and maintaining a regional standby force, addressing escalating security threats in the region. Speaking at the 65th ordinary session of the Authority of the Heads of State and government of ECOWAS in Abuja, Tinubu, who was reelected as chairman of the economic bloc, underscored the practicality of such a force. He urged member states to bolster their commitment by providing necessary resources to enhance regional security.

Tinubu highlighted the Regional Action Plan against terrorism, which has fostered cooperation in training, intelligence sharing, and humanitarian aid. He noted recent efforts, including a meeting of Finance and Defense Ministers in Abuja aimed at mobilizing funds to activate the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) to bolster counterterrorism measures. Additionally, member states are increasing defense budgets individually to procure essential equipment and ensure readiness.

Recognizing the essential role of a peaceful and secure environment in unlocking ECOWAS's potential, Tinubu stressed that operationalizing the ESF against terrorism necessitates not just political will but substantial financial backing. He cautioned against significant challenges within the economic community, including the persistent threat of terrorism and violent extremism expanding from the Sahel towards coastal states.

Tinubu's remarks underscore the region's concerted efforts to tackle security threats collectively while reinforcing the imperative of sustained commitment and investment in regional stability and resilience.

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