The 35th ordinary meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) on Thursday begun in Dakar, Senegal.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, led the Nigerian delegates, including the Chief of Naval Staff, to the meeting, where new structures for the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) and the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) is deliberated on.
Other areas of discussion include ECOWAS mission in Guinea Bissau, exit strategy and the implementation of the defence and security sector reform programme in Guinea Bissau.
The Nigerian delegates are using the occasion to brief the wider regional body about the Boko Haram insurgency and the efforts the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries are putting in place to end Boko Haram activities in the region.
They said with increased regional and continental awareness of the evils of terrorism and related crimes in the West African sub region, the perpetrators will have it rough with regional forces.
The Lake Chad Basin Commission has requested for over eight billion Cefas , which is about two billion naira to fund operations of the Multinational Joint Security Forces organised to fight insurgency in the region.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mister Sanusi Imran Abdullahi told Chiefs of Defence staff from member states in Abuja that the amount will fund urgent requirements of small equipment, and troop welfare in the ongoing fight against terrorism.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh believes such collaboration with member states is needed to stop terrorism.
Several meetings were also held between Ministers, Chiefs of Defense Staff, Heads of Security Intelligence from Members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Republic of Benin to review best strategies in the fight against terrorism.
It will be recalled that in May 2014, President Jonathan and the Heads of State and Government of the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin Republic resolved at a meeting in Paris to intensify joint efforts to curtail terrorism and violent extremism.
At the Paris Summit hosted by President Francois Hollande of France, President Jonathan and neighbouring Heads of State and Government also agreed to establish joint anti-terrorism patrols and a system of sharing intelligence to support operations against terrorists and other cross-border criminals.
They likewise agreed to create a dedicated team to draw up and advise on the implementation of a regional counter-terrorism strategy under the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.