Security experts from the West Africa sub-region, have called on governments in the 15 member states, to work together in addressing the challenges bedeviling the various countries. The experts who are members of the Security Watch Africa Initiative made their position known at a one-day annual conference and awards held on Friday at the Sir Dawda Kairaba International Conference Center in Bijilo, The Gambia.
According to the President of the subcontinental body, Mr. Patrick Agbambu, and Chief Rapporteur, Sani Usman, “There need for intelligence sharing and synergy amongst sub-regional bodies on the continent, as well as a periodic assembly to assess the African security environment for a unified, enabling legal framework, a comprehensive, all-encompassing strategy, as well as a strengthened judicial system, to address security challenges across Africa.”
Patrick Agbambu further noted that regular meetings of the security councils and commissions of sub-regional bodies such as SADC and ECOWAS, among others are necessary to help African countries should collaborate more and look inward for solutions to address African security challenges. According to him, African leaders should adopt an all-of-society approach, particularly engaging the youths, to address evolving security challenges. In addition, African countries should come up with integrated, all-encompassing maritime strategies that are in line with continental and regional security architectures.
“African countries should strengthen their research and development efforts through training and adequate funding. AU must also operationalize the collective security mechanism, particularly the African Standby Force, to address insecurity in Africa. This will encourage the media to consider national and victim security in their reportage”, Patrick Agbambu added.
Nigerian Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State who also spoke at the event, identified economic security as the best foundation for total human security. Governor Emmanuel, who further identified hopelessness as the highest factor for crime, said the best way to stop crime is to beef up the economy, where people can make a decent living from honest means.
Deemed one of Africa’s most-prized security conferences, where key decision makers converge to X-ray the state of security of the continent, the event was attended by military top brass across Africa, diplomats, senior security operatives, ECOWAS representatives, senior civil servants, among others.
The conference was declared open by President Adama Barrow, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of The Gambia.