By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Savannah Centre for Diplomacy and Democracy has advocated enhanced regional and continental cooperation to curtail security challenges in the Sahel region and the African continent.
The centre’s Director of Diplomacy and Democracy, Amb. Felix Pwol, stated this during a meeting with delegation of Experts of the United Nations on the high-level Independent Panel on Security and Development in Sahel, held in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the meeting was ” Security, Governance and Development in the Sahel”.
Pwol said that cooperation was very important regardless of whatever national interest a country was pursuing, adding that the issue of insecurity in the Sahel region needed a regional and continental cooperation.
According to him, all countries have a national interest but when they come together they need to play done some of those national interest If not the overall objective of the members will be totally defeated.
Pwol said that it was a difficult thing to strike a balance between a national interest and regional interest.
He said: “However, we have seen the issue of insecurity if we don’t come together and we keep on emphasising only on national interest you will not go far.
” There is need for collaboration. You can see that a lot of the terrorists are causing mayhem across borders.
“So, you need to corporate and in that sense, you have to play down some of these national interests and work towards a regional interest like we have in ECOWAS.
” ECOWAS is trying it best in addressing challenges of security in the region, but I think there will be more improvement at that level.
“Cooperation is very important regardless of whatever national interest a country is pursuing you should know that the issue of insecurity need a regional and continental cooperation.”
Pwol stated that the meeting was an attractive session with the panel set up by the Secretary General of the United Nations in junction with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which they always worked in partnership.
He said: ” What they have come to do is to address the issue of security in the Sahel region, you know they hae been going on for quite some time but they intensified efforts most seriously in recent years.
” So, what they are here is that there have been so many strategies and initiatives on how to address the security challenges, but it appears the desire has not been achieve.
” So, they are meeting stakeholders to see how best can we work out strategy to achieve better results.
“They met with government officials, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Adviser, ECOWAS Commission, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.
” But they want to hear the perspective of the Civil Society Organisations.”
Earlier, Dr Issaka Souare, said that the delegation was a team of experts for high-level independent panel on the Sahel established in 2022 by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the African Union Commission President together with ECOWAS.
He said: ” We are directed to undertake a thorough assessment of the governance security and development situation in the Sahel
“We are going around different countries to engage with authorities and the Civil Society Organisations to get their assessment and appreciations of the situation.
” This will help us to prepare a report that is objective, realistic and actionable, then the chair of the panel with his other collaborators will then use to prepare their final reports.
“This will be validated by the mandated organisations, which they hope to contribute to the amelioration of the security, governance and the security sector in the Sahel which include Nigeria.”