ECOWAS hosts third annual meeting of the Heads of Institutions of the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC)22 May, 2019
Abuja, 21st May, 2019. Heads of the institutions of the Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC) comprising of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) have reiterated their commitment to improve the operationalization of the organization in a bid to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea during their 3rd annual meeting on 21st May 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting which included development partners evaluated the evolution of the organization and its challenges with regards to human resources and the prompt and regular payment of contributions by the institutions responsible for the Centre.
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Francis Béhanzin urged parties concerned with the security and safety of the Gulf of Guinea to explore the possibility of mobilizing support from stakeholders such as ship owners, fishermen and the private sector.
Furthermore the Commissioner stressed the need for the ICC to accelerate the organization of a donor conference in order to meet the deadlines set by the ECOWAS and ECCAS joint summit of 30th July 2018.
Addressing participants of the meeting, the Executive Secretary of the GGC Mrs Florentina Adenike Ukonga highlighted the need for Member States to fulfill their financial obligations to the ICC. “We must perform our duties as responsible governments and not leave even the day to day running of our institution and mechanism to donations, grants and assistance from third parties” she said.
Mrs. Ukonga added that, “the laws on criminal activities in the maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea should be harmonized to act as an effective deterrent to those committing these acts of criminality”.
The outgoing Executive Director of the ICC, Dr. Christian Trimua emphasized the need for adequate maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea as terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization are on the rise in the region. “These factors have a negative impact on the socio-economic activity in the region”, he said.
Hence Dr.Trimua stated that it is very important for the ICC to develop a common architecture for maritime security in the region.
The meeting served as a valedictory session for the Dr Trimua who has taken up a new position as the Minister of Human Rights and Relations with Public institutions of the Togolese Republic.
Concluding the meeting the Heads of Institutions of the ICC also decided to entrust, for an additional year, the chairmanship of the organization to the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.