Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday hosted leaders from some countries in West Africa that are members of the the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

It was the occasion of the 54th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and it held in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city. 

In his speech, President Buhari, who highlighted the achievements of the union, told the leaders that despite the successes in political governance, peace and security, ECOWAS was still confronted by several challenges.

"The sub-region continues to face difficulties in the economic, governance, peace, security and humanitarian fields.

"As we all know, the primary objective of ECOWAS as set out in its Treaty, is to "promote cooperation and integration, leading to the establishment of an Economic and Monetary Union in West Africa, in order to raise the living standards of our people and contribute to the progress and development of the African continent".

"Indeed as a Community, our aspiration is to "create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region, based on good governance and where our people have the capacity to access and harness its resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable development, job creation and environmental preservation". 

"These lofty ideals are however not attainable without peace and security," the man whose nation has had a fair share of the insurgency of Boko Haram terrorists who have continued to push for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to education in the region.

Calls For Collective Action

He reminded them that it was for that reason that he had decided to make the issue of peace and security the major focus of his Chairmanship.

President Muhammadu Buhari and some leaders of ECO

"I am happy to inform this august assembly that our efforts have started yielding dividends as we have been able to douse tension and restore confidence in some potentially disruptive political situations, particularly in Guinea Bissau, Togo and Mali.

"It is a matter of concern that terrorism and violent extremism have continued to threaten the peace and security in our sub-region.

"This threat calls for collective action on our part, if we are to effectively and definitively eliminate it.

"As we work on new strategies to combat and eradicate this menace, we require the support of our partners to ensure the achievement of our objectives.

Also Read: Soldiers Reject North-East Postings In Fear Of Boko Haram

On the elections that will happen in Nigeria and Senegal in February, President Buhari stressed the need for regional peace be maintained.

"On my part, I have already made a pledge to conduct free, fair and credible elections.

"In the same vein, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other political stakeholders, have expressed their unwavering commitment to the conduct of peaceful elections devoid of violence, rancour and acrimony, in the higher interest of the nation.

"Our determination to create a safe and stable sub-region must be predicated on a strong and capable organisation. You will all agree with me that no institution can function effectively without adequate funding," he said. 

The Nigerian president further stressed the need for all hands to be on deck and for all Member States to ensure the payment of the Statutory Community Levy as and when due. 

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