By Irere Martha) Etim Eket
The ECOWAS Early Warning and Response Network (ECOWARN) directorate has promise to support ECOWAS member states in response to prevent and mitigate human security threat as well as violent extremism and terrorism.
The· Head Human Security and Civil Society ECOWAS Commission, Haija Rahimat Momodu, said this in a presentation on human security and civil society, at a retreat on the Early Warning Study on the Spillover of Violent Extremism to ECOWAS Coastal Member State in Abuja.
According to Momodu, when people speak about peace and security, they should not take it too far but need to talk about the individual’s safety first.
“We want to ensure that every individual in the region is protected,” she said.
According to her, the work of the directorate is protection and ensure every individual is protected; we also worked very well with the ECOWAS gender centre under our department and also the department of political affairs peace and security.
“As the division mandate cuts across its entire programme, we have the programme of trafficking, child rights, emergency prevention which covers refugees as well as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“So it’s very obvious why this division is called the human security division and of course civil society,” she said.
According to her, the ECOWAS vision 2020 is about making the ordinary ECOWAS citizen part of the mitigation agenda.
“So you are beginning to see what ECOWARN can do to protect human security.
“In terms of the work we do in the division, there is three legged tripod, which essentially is to promote the whole of government and the society.
“The approach to creating the tendency is for us to work with the minister of children affairs and women affairs; to create a protection web that will benefit the whole society,
“The division also covers women’s peace and security,” she said.
According to her, security of peace starts from an individual; it doesn’t start from an abstract up. So we have an integrated approach in consideration,” she said.
The ECOWARN directorate also highlighted some achievements that had been done by the commission.
She stated that 10 member states that were affected by the flood were supported financially by the commission. She also stated that this year in Nigeria, one million United States dollars was given for human interventions.
“Professionals have been trained to treat drug addicts and have renovated rehabilitation centers,” she stated.
The Head of Drug Prevention and Control, Prof. Daniel Amankwamah, also made a presentation on the three thematic areas of ECOWARN which are Terrorism and security, crime and criminality and health.
Amankwamah emphasized on the fact that drug trafficking was a crime that could generate other crimes directly or indirectly.
“The drug trafficking has both direct and indirect kink to terrorism. These are illicit activities, when people start using drugs they find it hard to stop.
“Why do we have so much money in drug trafficking, we have other issues like corruption.
“The second thematic area about crime is that when someone gets addicted to drugs, he tries every possible thing to get access to drugs.
“He can steal or become an armed robber just to get access to drugs.
“Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. It can cause rare damage that will need medical attention. It also affects people psychologically,” he said.
He therefore called for drug addicts to seek medical attention to prevent any disease that might occur.
“It is our job to renovate our member state drug rehabilitation centers, that is why 74 professionals were trained to treat drug users amongst member states,” he said.