The Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has urged member countries to take immediate steps to vaccinate their citizens against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to strengthen their resilience, as efforts are made to find a solution to its spread.
She has, meanwhile, commended member countries for putting in measures to contain the spread of the virus in their respective countries, a year after the outbreak of the pandemic
“We must also hail the coordination of efforts at the regional level under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Champion of the fight against the COVID-19,” the minister added.
Ms Botchwey, who made the call at the 85th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers via video conferencing last Wednesday, said the emergence of the second wave of the COVID-19 had made it even more expedient to protect the people and also safeguard the countries against the virus and its impact on economic and social life in the sub-region.
She said despite the gloomy situation, “we must remain optimistic and strengthen our solidarity to overcome the challenges together”.
The meeting was, among other objectives, aimed at finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing the sub-region in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members also deliberated on issues germane to the sub-region, including the annual report of the President of the commission, the financial situation of community institutions, the report of the Auditor General and the audit committee, the report of the 28th meeting of the administration and finance committee and other memoranda from heads of ECOWAS institutions and the commission.
Peace and security
“The efforts made by all member states and ECOWAS institutions to contribute to the consolidation of peace and security in the region gives us hope for a dynamic pursuit of our integration process in 2021.
“The fight against terrorism, the consolidation of democracy, the revitalisation of regional trade and the transformation of our economies are equally pressing matters which should engage the attention of council,” the minister said, and paid glowing tribute to sub-regional leaders for their solidarity.
“One of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we must reinforce our solidarity to face the challenges in our region,” Ms Botchwey added.
Among those who participated in the session were the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean- Claude Kassi Brou; the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission, Madam Finda Koroma; the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Madam Minata Samate.