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Buhari seeks accountability in management of ECOWAS resources

President Muhammadu Buhari has urge the leadership of the ECOWAS Commission to practise probity and accountability in the management of the community’s resources. President Buhari…

President Muhammadu Buhari has urge the leadership of the ECOWAS Commission to practise probity and accountability in the management of the community’s resources.

President Buhari spoke in Abuja on Saturday during the 52nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

"In the wake of the recent recession and economic challenges faced by ECOWAS Member States, as evidenced by the severe drop in real growth rate for ECOWAS from 6.1% in 2014 and 3.3% in 2015, to an alarming rate of 0.2% in 2016, there is an urgent need to review the spending patterns of all the Community Institutions, to ensure that dwindling resources are put to good economic use for the optimization of strategic goals of the Community," he said.

He also stressed the need to consolidate the efforts made so far on the ongoing Reform of ECOWAS institutions and specialized agencies, and to emphasize the importance of good governance, sound financial management and cost reduction as the underlying factors for a successful reform.

He said Nigeria welcomed the approved institutional reforms of ECOWAS and looked forward to their comprehensive implementation.

Buhari, however, emphasised that the gains and savings made should be invested on greater integration projects as well as on security and development initiatives.

The president cautioned that West Africa lived with the constant threat of violent terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaida. 

"Nearly every week we see and hear the horror of human trafficking perpetrated by trans-border syndicates, who lure our youths to slavery through irregular migration. We see the consequences, on our young men and women and on our economies, of drug trafficking and capital flight. 

Accordingly, it is imperative that we take urgent action to address these challenges."

He said in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration, Nigeria had been evacuating her compatriots stranded in Libya, adding that returnees had been receiving needed support including from state governments and   some  non-governmental grganisations.

He said he had instructed the National Emergency Management Agency to speed up the evacuation of all Nigerians stranded  in Libya and facilitate their resettlement.

Buhari suggested establishment of a well-run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement  and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.

He also stated that dialogue with the European partners should be stepped up in the ECOWAS efforts to jointly address "this challenge which affect us all."

President Buhari, however, noted that "The long term solutions to these challenges is to create conditions of peace and security in our countries and sustainable development of our economies.

Only through this can we create jobs and other conditions in which our youths will have little or no excuse to embark on the suicidal venture of irregular migration."

He regretted that "there is growing reluctance from our region’s development partners to be more proactive in support of our efforts. However, our shared  challenges make it imperative for the cooperation to be developed and intensified. 

"Thanks to the foresight of our predecessors, this Authority of Heads of State and Government adopted, in 2001 the "ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance". Since then, our region has been steadily developing the culture  of democratic  practice, including good governance and respect for the Rule of Law. 
"This trend has just been demonstrated in Liberia. I salute the people of Liberia for the manner in which they conducted themselves  during and in the aftermath of the just concluded general elections.

"It is my fervent hope that the same attitude prevails in the coming run-off election scheduled to hold on 26 December, and a new president is inaugurated  in January, 2018 as per the provision of the country’s Constitution. My Dear Sister, Your Excellency Sirleaf-Johnson, we appreciate the leadership you demonstrated in this electoral process."

He appealed to Togolese leaders to continue  to embrace dialogue in efforts to resolve their political differences, urging the country’s government to widen the space for dialogue and mediation.

He said it was worrisome that the continued political deadlock in Guinea Bissau was taking its toll on the people, good governance and the resources of member states, particularly troops from contributing countries to the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau.

Buhari, therefore, urged all the stakeholders in Guinea Bissau to respect their undertakings in plans to resolve the political impasse.  

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