200 Nigerian Air Force Men Return From Gambia

200 Nigerian Air Force Men Return From GambiaTwo hundred of the Nigerian Air Force personnel sent for peace keeping in Banjul, The Gambia, are back home, after what they called a successful campaign in the country.

The officers and men who arrived at about 6:30 on Thursday evening, were brought in an Air Force plane.

The troops were part of the ECOWAS military force sent to restore democracy in The Gambia.

Former President Yayah Jameh had refused to step down after losing an election to current President Adama Barrow.

The officers and airmen were received by Air Vice Marshal, James Gbum at the Air Force wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

ECOWAS decided to engage its military after the mediating team led by Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, could not convince President Jammeh to relinquish power to then president-elect of Gambia, Adama Barrow.

Mr Jammeh had earlier said he would accept the result of the election but changed his mind few days later, insisting that another election should be held.

Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Mohammed Dan-Ali, explained that ECOWAS decided in a meeting to use its standby force in upholding the result of the presidential election held in December 2016, which produced Mr Adama Barrow as winner.

The Minister added that in line with the ECOWAS directive, the Nigerian military would deploy its assets to protect the people of The Gambia and maintain regional peace and security.

The mission was accomplished when Mr Adama Barrow was successfully sworn-in as President in neighbouring Senegal with Jammeh left with no other option than to leave few days after.

This paved the way for the return of Barrow as President, but the ECOWAS troops had to remain in the country ahead of the arrival of the elected President Adama Barrow.

ECOWAS said that it was retaining troops from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana to secure the city for the next six days ahead of President Adama Barrow’s return.

ECOWAS Troops To Remain In Gambia

ECOWAS Troops To Remain In GambiaThe President of the ECOWAS commission, Marcel Alain De Souza says ECOWAS troops deployed for mission in The Gambia would remain in the country ahead of the arrival of the elected President Adama Barrow.

Briefing members of the diplomatic corps and commissioners from member countries, the President said that it has retained troops from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana to secure the city for the next six days ahead of President Adama Barrow’s return.

The ECOWAS president appealed for financial support from international partners to conclude its mission successfully in The Gambia.

Responding to the allegation that the former president, Mr Yahaya Jameh took away 11.4 million dollar from the country’s treasury, ECOWAS promised to encourage and support any form of investigation.

ECOWAS says while it lends support to the present government in any investigative move on the former President Yahya Jammeh, it has not validated the joint declaration by the EU and AU to grant him presidential amnesty.

Obasanjo Challenges African Leaders To Tackle Unemployment

Olusegun Obasanjo, ECOWAS, AfricaA former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has challenged African leaders on the worrisome unemployment rate among youths.

He made the clarion call on Monday at his residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in southwest Nigeria.

The former president was speaking when he received the new President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Marcel Alain de Souza.

He asked the leaders to redouble their effort towards reducing the over 50% unemployment rate among the teaming population of youths on the African continent.

Obasanjo noted that the challenge of unemployment might spell doom for the continent if they fail to tackle it.

He said that the aims and aspirations of the founding fathers of the sub regional organisation have remained and have not been achieved in the last 41 years of its establishment.

While challenging Mr de Souza on critical reforms in the commission, the former president said that the fortunes of the 320 million people of the ECOWAS extraction must be met if the much needed development must be achieved.

ECOWAS Launches Small Arms Control Project

ECOWASThe Economic Community for West African States, ECOWAS, in collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has launched a new fight against proliferation of small arms in West Africa.

The ECOWAS community, the European Union and United Nations delegations believe that recent surge in terrorism across West Africa can be reduced through this project.

According to the officials, this intervention is aimed at supporting efforts to maintain regional peace and stability which has been threatened recently by terrorism.

ECOWAS President, Kadre Ouedraogo, said that the project would strengthen similar initiatives within the West African region aimed at reducing proliferation of illegal arms.

It is one of several projects launched in recent times to curb the rising waves of terrorism and other crimes escalated by proliferation of illegal arms in the West African region.

The European Union in agreement with ECOWAS is putting over five million Euro into the project that would be managed by United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.

They are confident that if well managed, the project is capable of restoring peace and stability in the troubled regions of West Africa.

Some of the activities of the project would include raising community awareness on the dangers associated with the proliferation of small arms and armed violence in the region.

It would also strengthen security and encourage voluntary weapons surrender and collection in return for community based development projects.

The project is targeting six countries, including Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Liberia.

ECOWAS donates $382,000 to Nigeria’s flood victims

The Economic Community for West-African States (ECOWAS) has donated the sum of $382,000, about N60 million to flood victims in the affected 19 states of the federation that were recently inundated.

ECOWAS President, Mr Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, who made the donation on behalf of the commission noted that the donation is in line with ECOWAS mandate to support and show solidarity with people of the sub-region who are going through a disaster.

According to him ECOWAS is the only sub-regional body with a comprehensive Disaster Risk Response strategy and the gesture is an expression of solidarity and goodwill from the rest of the people of the sub-region.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Nigerian government the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gbenga Ashiru said the gesture is a demonstration that members of the West African states are their brothers’ keepers.

He added that the donation will go a long way in helping to care for those that have been affected.

With this venture, more funds are pouring in for the flood victims following the raising of N12 billion by the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief co-chaired by business mogul, Aliko Dangote and Olisa Agbakoba.


Johnson-Sirleaf warns of grave security situation along Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire border

The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has warned that the unstable security situation along the country’s border with neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire was “grave” and could threaten regional security if not handled through concerted regional action.

During a brief visit to the ECOWAS Commission on Friday, on the margin of a visit to Nigeria, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf affirmed that it was in response to the gravity of the situation that the country has reinforced security along the border but warned of the possibility that the situation could overwhelm the country’s nascent security services with implications for both countries.

Apparently referring to roaming bands of armed elements that have recently attacked neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire from Liberia, the President suggested that “ECOWAS pay attention to the situation to ensure it does not escalate,” during a meeting with the Vice President of the Commission, Dr Toga Gayewea McIntosh and Commissioners who were around to receive the visitor.

She said the region was confronted with the twin problems of security and humanitarian disaster in the area and praised the management and staff of ECOWAS for their service to the Community.

The president noted however that because of the paucity of development in the region, the Community needed to be more aggressive in its strategy for exploring available services to mobilize resources to develop the region’s infrastructure. This, she said, would help stimulate intra-Community trade and the economies of Member States.

The ECOWAS Vice President and the management used the opportunity to brief Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf on regional programmes being implemented for Liberia including a $2.5 million study to integrate the country into the West African Gas Pipeline Project under which gas from Nigeria is transported through a 450-kilometre pipeline to help meet the energy needs of neighbouring countries. The first phase of the programme covers Benin, Togo and Nigeria.

Another study is also being undertaken to explore the possibility of integrating Liberia into the West Africa Power Pool Project which enables Member States to undertake energy trading, thereby promoting the efficient utilization of the region’s energy endowments.

A third infrastructure project being proposed for the country would link it with Dakar as part of the Trans Africa highway project.

Vice President McIntosh had, while welcoming the Liberian president, on behalf of President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, briefed the visitor of the efforts being made by the new management to revitalize the organization in line with the mandate of regional leaders in order to make it more responsive to the needs of the citizens and the dynamics of the international economic environment.