EYEAFRICA TV: Abuja, Nigeria: President Adama Barrow condemned the recent terrorist attacks in the West African sub-region and extended his condolences and those of the people of The Gambia to the countries affected for the loss of lives and the unfortunate destruction of property.
Addressing the 56th session of the Ecowas authority of heads of state and government summit in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Mr Barrow said Gambia stands by the side of the affected countries in their resolve to fight terrorism.
The summit which ended today was dominated by inter-communal violence and terrorism activities in the sub-region and the introduction of the bloc’s one currency, the ECO.
“In spite of the progress made towards sustainable regional integration, our Community continues to face threats to peace and security within the sub-region. Issues of social discrimination, irregular migration, terrorist attacks, land conflicts and environmental concerns, for example, pose a big challenge to us,” Mr Barrow tell the regional leaders.
He said recently, scores of Gambian youths lost their lives at sea due to irregular migration, thanking the Mauritanian president Muhamed Ould Ghazouani, his Government and the people of Mauritania for rescuing some of those migrants and recovering and burying the bodies of the dead. This incident highlights irregular migration as a major concern to address.
President Barrow said terrorism destabilizes communities and states and acknowledged the various consultations initiated. “We comend all the concerted efforts, and call upon member states and partners to support the Plan and make available the resources required. We are conscious that our economic and human resource constraints continue to undermine socio-economic growth. However, the urgency of the situation calls for intensifying our commitment and strategies for sustainable peace, stability and democracy.”
He said his Government’s reform agenda is beginning to yield positive results in promoting good governance, human rights and the rule of law, saying in fact, the country is now acting on the recommendations of the Commission Report on the financial dealings of the former Head of State and his associates.
He also said consultations on a Draft Constitution are ongoing, and hearings at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission are in progress.
“My Government has progressed with the security sector reform programme, aligning it with the ECOWAS Framework. Also, we have a Security Sector Policy supported by a Security Sector Reform Strategy and a National Security Strategy.”
Mr Barrow said all these are outcomes of the strategic support of ECOWAS and other partners for our transitional programme. “We appreciate this, and will continue to partner with you for the full realisation of the programme. The implementation stage, which follows, includes capacity building and right sizing the armed forces.”
He said the Independent Electoral Commission is undertaking a reform programme to prepare for the 2021 General Elections that will usher in the Third Republic, saying all these activities require a peaceful and stable environment. “To this end, I thank our partners sincerely for supporting and sustaining the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia. It is contributing immensely to the stability in the country and the protection of our fragile democracy.”
He said although the country’s community outreach programme and institutional framework are being implemented, there is need for a robust environment to pursue the reforms to the end.
He plead for the summit to extend the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia to 2021, when the transition process would have given way for the Third Republic to contribute effectively to our regional commitments, renewing his Government’s commitment to making The Gambia a regional model of a peacefully transformed nation from a dictatorship into a true democracy.