West African gov’ts asked to ensure peace

A group photograph of the participants (1)A security expert, Emmanuel Bombande has urged West African governments to partner civil society organisations (CSOs) into peace building, to fight the growing threat of violent extremism and religious fundamentalism in the sub-region.

Mr. Bombande, the outgoing Executive Director of the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), says while peace building groups continue to do their best in predicting and anticipating violence and how they could be prevented, some incidents are difficult to predict.

He was speaking at the 2015 General Assembly of WANEP, in Accra on Tuesday, on the theme: “WANEP; Transition from Programming to Visioning in Support of ECOWAS and African Union Peace Architecture”.

The four-day event would afford WANEP the opportunity to take stock of its activities over the last two years and devise strategies to counter emerging security threats, in the sub-region.

The participatants were from WANEP branches in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with its partners including ECOWAS, the African Union and the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, in attendance.

Mr. Bombande advised governments in the sub-region to collaborate with the CSOs, and renew their commitment to providing home-grown short and medium to long term responses to ensure the peace and security of the region.

He appealed to the governments to improve national infrastructure, saying “It is when these Infrastructure are put in place and functioning that we can truly establish the linkages and synergies between the national processes, to the regional (ECOWAS) and continental (AU) peace and security structures”.

He said Africa is blessed with natural resources but lacks strong institutions to promote development, lamenting, “our institutions have often been weak and sometimes ineffective, to the detriment of holistic national development”.

Dr. Joseph Chilengi, Presiding Officer of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of African Union (ECOSOCC), said WANEP continues to be the pride of all Africans, demonstrating that home-bred African professional can promote peace, with integrity.

He said while the responsibility of peace and security reside mainly with states, WANEP has demonstrated its capacity and competence to influence policies on peace and security, as well as the developmental challenges confronting Africa.

Mr. Michel Sodjiedo Capo Miari, the WANEP Board Chairman, announced that the Programme Director of WANEP, Mr Chukwuemeka Eze, has been appointed the new Executive Director, while Mrs. Levina Ade-Mensah, the former, Director of Plans and Programmes at the KAIPTC, is the new Programmes Director .

Mr. William Awinador Kanyirige, High Commissioner of Ghana to Abuja, noted that peace building is by nature a long-term enterprise within an over-all process of nation-building and development.

He commended WANEP for promoting peace in the sub-region, despite challenges, remarking, “the challenges have not been seen as obstacles, but rather opportunities for long-term strategic and focused action”.

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