The Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman has called for a stronger partnership in West Africa against terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime. He made this known in Abuja on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the international roundtable on the role of Parliaments in Security sector reform and governance in West Africa. The roundtable was organised by NILDS in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung KAS.
According to him, West Africa has faced the scourge of terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime, presenting formidable threats to our collective peace and stability. He said that the menace presented formidable threats to the collective peace and stability of the region. “We must confront these urgently; internal conflicts, driven by various factors, pose additional challenges that require our immediate attention.
“More recently, the series of military coups that have taken place in and around our region which remain threats to peace, the rule of law and democratic stability within the region. “As legislators, you stand at the forefront of crafting responses to these challenges. “The laws and policies you shape must not only address the immediate threats but also lay the foundation for sustainable security sector governance and reform,” he said.
Prof. Sulaiman said the roundtable provided an opportunity to pool insights, share best practices, and develop legislative frameworks that are responsive to the unique security dynamics of West Africa.
The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Gbenga Daniel, recommends synergy among countries in the sub-region to address insecurity. “Nigeria is a country that is willing and determined to ensure that the West Africa sub- region enjoys peace, security, and shared prosperity in our developmental goals. “In order to mitigate the challenges already identified, it is important to properly address insecurity in the West African sub region. “This can be done through deep cooperation and deliberate policies and laws by our parliament, as well as empower the parliament to assume full legislative powers,” he noted.
Speaking earlier, Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Abbas Tajudeen who was represented at the occasion by his deputy, Benjamin Kalu, said the security sector plays a pivotal role in ensuring peace, stability, and development within any nation. He also said the security sector encompasses various institutions such as the military, police, intelligence agencies, and other law enforcement bodies, noting that the effective governance and reform of the security sector are essential for upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights, and safeguarding democratic principles.
“For us in the 10th House of Representatives, The People’s House, our Legislative Agenda seeks to improve accountability in the security sector, such that money budgeted for our security agencies are judiciously used for the purpose it is approved; enhance and improve counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency; encourage inter-agency collaboration and improved intelligence sharing; innovative police and other paramilitary reforms; and strengthen our own internal security arrangement in the National Assembly. If we are able to achieve these, we would have contributed in no small measure to curbing insecurity,” the speaker said.
The roundtable drew lawmakers from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.