Ghana: ECOWAS Commission rallies military against Ebola

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The ECOWAS Commission has called on the defence forces of its member states to lend their professional support towards defeating the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which has claimed more than 2,000 lives from almost 4,000 cases reported in the region since Dec. 2013.

Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman made the call while addressing West African Defence Chiefs currently meeting in Ghana's capital, Accra, under the aegis of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS).

She said the Ebola outbreak, “If not adequately addressed would have far reaching devastating consequences for the development of the region” and therefore called for “collective efforts in assisting and supporting member states whose populations are facing the menace of this dangerous disease”.

The Commissioner outlined various intervention measures taken by the Commission in combating the disease, including the setting up of a Solidarity Fund and multi-stakeholder collaborations.

Suleiman noted that the region had in the past two years witnessed challenging crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau as well as terrorism, piracy and other criminal acts in the Gulf of Guinea.

She paid tribute to out-going CCDS Chairman Gen. Soumaila Bakayoko of Cote d’Ivoire “who played a critical role in guiding ECOWAS interventions towards resolving these crises”.

The Commissioner also welcomed the incoming CCDS Chairman Admiral Mathew Quashie of Ghana.

Opening the meeting, Ghana’s Minister of Defence Benjamin Kubuor described the Ebola menace as “a very worrying situation that requires the collective efforts of all.”

“It is for the this reason,” he said, “that the Chair of ECOWAS, H.E John Dramani Mahama, (the President of Ghana), has made Accra, Ghana the distribution point for the supply of Ebola Support in the sub-region,” adding: “it is for you Service heads to also use this forum to discuss how you can assist the civilian population to strategise towards stemming the spread of this

During the opening ceremony of the three-day meeting, Nigeria’s Gen. Hassan Mamman Lai, the first and outgoing Chief of Staff of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), was decorated with a Medal of Honour and presented with a Plaque for distinguished and meritorious service to the Community for past seven years.

Under the theme “Strengthening ECOWAS Military Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Development,” the meeting is reviewing the general security situation in the region with the purpose of determining adequate responses.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Naval Chefs of Staff of four member states - Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo - is also taking place on the margins of the CCDS session to discuss the operationalisation of the Maritime Model Zone E.

An Inter-regional Maritime Coordinating Centre is to be inaugurated in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 11 Sept. 2014 in line with decisions by ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Heads of State, at their Joint Summit last June as part of efforts to combat piracy and other crimes in the regions.
-0- PANA SEG 10Sept2014

10 september 2014 11:20:34

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