By Bakary Ceesay
President Adama Barrow has called on the leaders of the regional body-ECOWAS, to address the issue of irregular migration as a major concern, citing the recent tragic boat accident off the coast of Mauritania, which claimed the lives of over 60 Gambian youths.
‘’In spite of the progress made towards sustainable regional integration, our Community continues to face threats to peace and security within the sub-region. Issues of social discrimination, irregular migration, terrorist attacks, land conflicts and environmental concerns, for example, pose a big challenge to us.’’
President Barrow said during his address at the 56th ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Summit in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Gambian leader used the occasion to condemn the recent terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, Mali and Niger, which resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of valuable properties.
He assured of The Gambia’s support their resolve to fight terrorism.
Acknowledging economic and human resource constraints of members states, which continue to undermine socio-economic growth, President Barrow was quick to point out that the urgency of the situation calls for intensifying commitments and strategies for sustainable peace, stability and democracy.
Highlighting his government’s reform agenda, the President said, ‘’My Government’s reform agenda is beginning to yield positive results in promoting good governance, human rights and the rule of law. In fact, we are now acting on the recommendations of the Commission Report on the financial dealings of the former Head of State and his associates.’’
Adding that the Consultations on a Draft Constitution are ongoing, and hearings at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission are in progress
President Barrow also informed the gathering that his government has progressed with the security sector reform programme, aligning it with the ECOWAS Framework as well as the Security Sector Policy supported by a Security Sector Reform Strategy and a National Security Strategy.
‘’All these activities require a peaceful and stable environment. To this end, I thank our partners sincerely for supporting and sustaining the ECOMIG mission in The Gambia. It is contributing immensely to the stability in the country and the protection of our fragile democracy.
While thanking ECOWAS for the strategic support to the outcomes and other partners of the transitional programme, President Barrow appealed to the body to extend the ECOMIG mission, in The Gambia to 2021, when the transition process would have given way for the Third Republic to contribute effectively to the regional commitments.