ECOWAS Needs to be Kept Intact to Fight Threat of Terrorism in West Africa, Insists Kofi Annan Institute

The Commandant, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Maj.-Gen. Richard Gyane has said that should dissatisfied members of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) allowed to exit the economic bloc, the growing terrorism in the subregion may become more difficult to manage.

He also said the threat of terrorism has made it imperative to build the capacity of women and youth to tackle the menace in the subregion

Gyane raise the alarm at the opening ceremony of a Mobile Training course on Women, Youth, and Violent Extremism and Terrorism, organised by KAIPTC in collaboration with the Norwegian Government, on Monday in Abuja.

According to Gyane, the training aims at building the capacities of women and youth in Nigeria to be more resilient against the threat of Violent Extremism and Terrorism (VET).

Gyane while explaining that ECOWAS has done remarkably well in tackling the threat of terrorist group, insisted that to squarely deal with the threats of extremists and terrorists, a multi-faceted approach is needed with everyone contributing in the mix.

He said that it would be more difficult to tackle terrorism should the Sahel state allowed to exit ECOWAS since terrorism groups are more pronounce in the Sahelian states, they would have easy passage into other parts of the subregion as collaboration to wage war against them would be severely affected.

He explained that heavy-handed tactics by security forces have sown distrust among and within local communities in some countries, making women and youth more vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment by terrorists.

The commandant said that terrorist groups exploited latent ethnic animosities, mistrust of security forces, and the absence of state presence in certain parts of the littoral countries to enhance their agenda.

He explained that the training developed by KAIPTC for women and youth, which was the sixth edition, would equip the beneficiaries with requisite knowledge skills and resilience against VET.

He said: “As we gather here today, it is clear that VET continues to escalate at an alarming rate in coastal states of West Africa.

“This is terrifying for citizens, especially women, youth, and children, although what we see is just the tip of the iceberg.

“As such, there is a need for partners to remain committed in this fight against VET by building the resilience of their main targets (women, youth, and vulnerable communities), to prevent and counter the recruitment processes of these VET groups.

“It is obvious that there is a critical need to build the resilience and capacity of women and youth to also support the efforts of security practitioners in achieving this unity of purpose.

“KAIPTC collaborates with its key and strategic partners to organise VET-related courses both at the centre and as Mobile Training Teams (MTTs), because the fight against VET is not only for security practitioners but for all,” he said.

Gyane said that as security responses to the threat of VET ramped up, the ability of governments in the littoral countries to avoid the mistakes of their counterparts in the Sahel (Mali and Burkina Faso) was critical.

He explained that KAIPTC preferred to teach participants through collaborative problem-based learning methodology and based on peer learning.

Gyane urged them to be actively involved in the training and offering informed suggestions to address the VET threat regionally.

The Director General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Dr Joseph Ochogwu, who declared the training opened, said the institute was glad to identify with KAIPTC, adding that the strategic course was timely.

Ochogwu said that women and youth were the worst hit by the menace of violent extremism and terrorism particularly due to their high level of vulnerability.

“My presence here today to join forces with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and Norwegian Government in the swift conduct of this strategic Course, is a testament of our resolve to achieving a nation and continent devoid of violent extremism and terrorism.

“It is my earnest belief and the belief of the entire team at IPCR that working together, we can create a safer and more secure future for our nation and the entire West African region.

“I have no doubt in my mind that this five-day event will achieve its overarching goals of equipping the participants with the requisite knowledge and skills to combat Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Nigeria, Sahel Region and Africa as a whole,” the IPCR DG said.

He added that the array of experienced resource persons participating in the course was proof that all stakeholders were determined to stamp out VET for regional stability, integration, sustainable development and global peace.

Post a Comment