UGRFP Chairman Shalom Olaseni stressed the imperative for a unified and strategic response to the escalating terrorism threat in West Africa, accentuated by the recent political disruptions.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Sunday, Olaseni said, "The disengagement of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso from ECOWAS is a distress signal that can't be ignored."
“It is a clear indication of the need for immediate and sustained counter-terrorism measures. The formation of an ECOWAS Anti-terrorism Task Force is no longer an option; it is an imperative.”
He maintained that since 2017, UGRFP has been at the forefront of advocating for the establishment of such a task force, emphasizing its importance in a region beleaguered by terrorist activities and political instability.
He noted that the call for action gained traction during a pivotal meeting with the former ECOWAS Parliament Speaker, Moustapha Cisse, where the need for a swift and decisive approach was emphasized.
“Terrorism is a scourge that has been left to fester for too long in West Africa. The pattern of coups is a direct reflection of the insecurity that grips our nations.
“Without a dedicated task force, we’re merely reacting to crises instead of preventing them,” Olaseni said.
He outlined a vision for the proposed task force to evolve into a permanent entity, surpassing reactive measures that typically ensue following coups and unrest.
According to him, its objective would be to foster regional cooperation, eradicate terrorist safe havens, and create a more secure environment conducive to economic development.
“Only through the establishment of a robust and permanent ECOWAS Anti-terrorism Task Force will we be able to safeguard our citizens and secure the future prosperity of West African states,” declared Olaseni.
With terrorism networks increasingly forging cross-border alliances, UGRFP emphasized the importance of a collaborative approach to counter-terrorism.
Olaseni stressed the shared responsibility of West African nations in ensuring the safety and well-being of their people.