June 15, 2024

ECOWAS champions regional unity to tackle rising security threats


In a robust call to action, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has emphasized the urgent need for enhanced regional cooperation and innovative strategies to address evolving security challenges.

This declaration was made during the technical subcommittee meeting of West African Chiefs of Police (WAPCCO) held in Abuja.

Ambassador Abdel-Fatah Musah, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political, Peace, and Security Affairs, represented by Dr. Abdourahmane Dieng, Permanent Secretary of WAPCCO, highlighted the pressing need for regional police chiefs to adapt and collaborate to combat complex security threats. The Commissioner pointed out that the rapid evolution of information technologies has significantly increased the sophistication of criminal activities, necessitating an adaptive and collaborative approach from security forces.

Dr. Dieng underscored that criminals are leveraging cyberspace to enhance their unlawful operations, making it imperative for security and law enforcement officers to stay ahead in the dynamic digital landscape. He also listed several critical security challenges facing the region, including illegal trafficking of small arms, human smuggling, armed assaults, illegal migration, child trafficking, kidnapping, and piracy.

Inspector-General of Police Kayode Egbetokun echoed these sentiments, calling for heightened collaboration and innovative approaches among West African police chiefs. Egbetokun noted the growing complexity of national security challenges exacerbated by transnational crimes. He emphasized the urgent need for member states to bolster their national security capabilities, particularly in cyberspace, to combat cybercriminals exploiting the region’s varied legal frameworks.

“Our security reality continually reinforces the need for regional collaboration,” Egbetokun stated. “By dissecting crime patterns and trends, and uniting to support each other, we can close our national security gaps.”

The Inspector-General also highlighted various traditional and emerging crimes posing significant threats to regional peace, including cross-border theft, human trafficking, drug trafficking, banditry, and terrorism. He noted the formidable challenge presented by the rising tide of cybercrime.

Paule Ouedrago, Director of the Interpol Regional Office in Abidjan, reinforced the call for collaboration to combat the transnational nature of crimes. Ouedrago pledged support through international police cooperation and emphasized the importance of stronger ties between the Permanent Secretariat of the Committee of Chiefs of Police and her office. “Together, we will dismantle the criminal networks that undermine our development efforts,” she said.

The meeting concluded with a firm commitment among ECOWAS Member States to strengthen regional partnerships in training and operational integration. This collective effort aims to effectively address the multifaceted security challenges plaguing the West African subregion.

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