ECOWAS DEFENCE CHIEFS URGED TO PLAY LEAD ROLE TO MAINTAIN REGIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY The Chairman of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS), Air
Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petinrin,has called on his colleague Chiefs of Defence
Staff from Member States to “play a positive lead role in the region to
forestall a situation where globalization and its tenets, if misapplied, could
easily subvert the security and peace of our region”
Air Chief Marshall Petinrin, who is Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, was
addressing the close of the two-day CCDS meeting late on 19th January 2011 in
Bamako, the Malian capital.
The first in a series of four ordinary sessions planned for the year, the
meeting reviewed the security situation in West Africa including the
deteriorating political situation in Cote d’Ivoire and the impending refugee
crisis, Al-Qaeda activities in the Islamic Maghreb as well as maritime
security issues in the Gulf of Guinea with its attendant drug trafficking,
piracy and other security concerns within the region.
The Air Chief Marshall noted that the importance of finding sustainable
solutions to all these security challenges is “underpinned by the current
dynamic global order where technology plays a key role in making rapid changes
within space and time”.
While alerting participants to the dangers in globalization that could easily
subvert the peace of the region, the Defence Chief reiterated the view
that “ECOWAS problems are better solved with ECOWAS solutions”.
Air Chief Marshall Petinrin had earlier at the opening of the meeting, warned
that with the impact of globalization, “our individual initiatives may not
effectively address the complex array of security challenges which continue to
frustrate the prospect for socio-economic and political development in the
He stated that “the reality of the existing and emerging security situation
underscores the need for greater cooperation and interdependence among Member
On the security situation in Cote d’Ivoire which he described as a matter of
great concern to ECOWAS Heads of State, the Air Chief Marshall said the
Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff “has the responsibility to ensure that
normalcy is restored and sustained in Cote d’Ivoire as soon as practicable”.
“We cannot afford to relent in our effort to help the ECOWAS political
leadership in finding a workable and enduring solution to this seemingly
intractable political logjam”, he stated.
The Defence Chiefs’ deliberations on the Ivorian crisis was in further
response to a directive in two extra-ordinary summits in December 2010 by
regional leaders mandating the President of the ECOWAS Commission to
immediately call a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff.
According to the Heads of State, “ECOWAS would have no other option but to
take all necessary measures, including use of legitimate force to realize the
desires of the Ivorian people”.
The Defence Chiefs thus met in an extra-ordinary session in Abuja on 28th and
29th December 2010 where they agreed to put in place a team “aimed at planning
the future actions including securing the border between Cote d’Ivoire and
Liberia in case of objection to the ECOWAS message”.
In a special closed door session, the Defence Chiefs were briefed by the
planning team on the state of progress of the activities undertaken so far.
The Force Commander of the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Major General
Abdul Hafiz and the Deputy Force Commander of the UN Mission in Liberia
(UNMIL), General Kwasie John Aduley, also briefed the Chiefs of Defence Staff
on the security situation in the two countries.
Earlier, the Minister of Defence and Ex-Combatants of Mali, Mr. Natie Pléa,
the Chief of Defence Staff of Mali, Major General Gabriel Poudiougou and the
ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Brigadier
General Mahamane Touré, addressed the meeting.