Leaders of countries comprising the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are due to converge in Accra, Ghana today to discuss the Boko Haram menace confronting Nigeria as well as other flash points in the subregion. The leaders have been summoned by Ghanaian President and ECOWAS Chairman President John Mahama.
Presidential Spokesperson, Ben Dotse Malor, told the Press the one-day summit was in line with the president’s duties as Chairman of the sub regional bloc and his efforts to enhance security and regional integration in the zone.
He also revealed a line up for the meeting which includes a welcome address by President Mahama, a presentation by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, a close session meeting by the leaders, and a press conference. The upsurge of violence in Mali is also key on the agenda.
Mr. Malor said a litany of issues “of urgent and mutual consent will be chosen by the Heads of States for discussion.”
Following an increase in cross-border insurgent activity by the militant Islamist group, ECOWAS leaders have been called upon to heighten their efforts at securing their boundaries to prevent the volatile movements of Boko Haram, to contain them and to effectively put an end to their operations.
Last week, President Mahama ordered the Ghana Armed Forces to be on the alert for asymmetrical attacks from terrorists and to fashion out a strategy for containing any such attacks if they should happen. He said even though terrorism is not a new phenomenon, the latest strategies employed by insurgents demand a re-think of ways to contain it.
Boko Haram appears to be emboldened by a seeming laxity in security and inter-governmental cooperation in the region and have lately carried out attacks almost on a weekly basis.
The latest of their activity is today’s kidnap of three Emirs (Traditional rulers) in northeastern Nigeria. Even though two of them later escaped unhurt, the third, the Emir of Gwoza, was killed by the insurgents.