Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States, Ms. Finda Koroma, says the only successful way to fight terrorism within the region is to attack its root causes.
Koroma said this at the inauguration of the Early Warning Study on the Spillover of Violent Extremism to ECOWAS Coastal Member States, in Abuja on Monday.
”The ECOWAS Commission understands that it would be illusionary to fight against terrorism without attacking its root causes, such as bad or in some cases, weak governance, poverty, youth unemployment, and human rights abuses.
”This need to address the root causes of violent extremism was specifically mentioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in his Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism of December 2015.
”This Plan of Action asserts that structural factors such as the lack of prospects for youth or unemployment, contribute largely to their adherence to the agenda of terrorist groups which they find attractive and therefore consider as an alternative likely to offer a better tomorrow for them.
”With regard to these root causes in the prevention and the fight against terrorism, the ECOWAS Commission has made the “nexus” between security and development its major area of focus, amongst others,” she said.
Koroma said data from the ECOWAS Alert and Response Network (ECOWARN) shows terrorist incidents perpetrated by Boko Haram alone resulted in more than 30,000 deaths in less than 10 years of subversive activities.
Koroma lamented that terrorism had left unprecedented humanitarian consequences, with more than three million people displaced in the sub-region.