9TH MARCH 2022

His Excellency Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOWAS

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Former Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNOWAS,

His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Her Excellency Samuela Isopi, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS 

Ms. Ina Hommers, Country Director, GIZ Nigeria, 

Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps 

Esteemed Directors and Colleagues of the ECOWAS Commission, 

Distinguished Think Tank Groups and civil society partners

Dear Friends of the Media

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

The good people of West Africa, 

It is with a deep sense of honor that I address this distinguished gathering as we stand together to formally launch the first edition of the West African Peace and Security Innovation Forum. I warmly welcome  you Excellencies, colleagues  from the United Nations, African Union, Regional institutions, Centers of Excellence, Think tank groups, regional CSOs and media to   this online event. 

This first  West Africa Peace and Security Innovation (WAPSI) Forum dwells on the theme: “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Human Security and Governance in the ECOWAS region”. This Forum is being launched at an auspicious time when our region faces human security and severe health challenges, which have been accentuated by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Forum’s objectives as already emphasized by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, we can further appreciate the root causes of tensions and conflict in our region while remaining steadfast in working round the clock to continuously have a good grasp and respond more effectively to the emerging threats to Peace and Security.

Our region has for a long time been in search of innovative approaches in tackling emerging challenges to human security. The WAPSI initiative therefore is a welcome development as an endeavor that will bolster the current peace and security architecture in West Africa through further research and engagement.

Let me state that the unrelenting endeavors that have birthed today’s forum is a culmination of sustained collaborative efforts with our partners, the European Union, The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GIZ and relevant stakeholders in the desire to contribute to bring about a  more peaceful , stable and prosperous region for  present and future generation of West Africans. I therefore commend our partners for their supporting this initiative.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am of the firm conviction that this Forum can advance the needed conversation on human security concerns, with a view to harvesting the myriad of ideas on practical ways of strengthening response strategies. 

Collectively, through the Forum, we will be engaging more with civil society actors, policy makers, community leaders, youth groups and the media who will help cascade the key messages emanating from the Forum to heal wounds, encourage and inspire our community citizens while releasing their creative energies in an atmosphere of peace and stability.  

We are mindful of our unwavering commitment to sustainable peace and security in our region and are confident that a lot of positivity will naturally be expected from this Forum in terms of the evolution of strategies to swiftly respond to and mitigate the growing peace and security challenges in ECOWAS Member States. 

Let me therefore thank all leaders of institutions present at this event and development partners for their invaluable support roles in keeping West Africa safe and stable.  

I am confident that the strides of this forum will contribute in no small measure to the nurturing of a more peaceful, stable and prosperous region. 

I thank you all. 

God bless ECOWAS

God bless West Africa