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Nigeria's Tinubu Elected ECOWAS Chairperson

Bola Tinubu, President of Nigeria, arrives to the closing session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit held in Paris, June 23, 2023.

West Africa’s regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, voted Sunday to appoint Nigeria’s newly appointed President Bola Tinubu as chairman, amid deepening regional insecurity, military coups and terrorism.

The newly elected ECOWAS chairperson Monday released a statement saying the region must prioritize collaborative efforts to address rising insecurity.

“On peace and security, the threat has reached an alarming level and needs urgent actions in addressing challenges,” read Tinubu’s statement.

“In this regard, we must remain committed to the utilization of all regional frameworks at our disposal to address the menace of insecurity,” his statement added.

Tinubu succeeds Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

Tinubu called for swift action by the 16-membered regional group against insecurity, terrorism and military coups that have reached “alarming proportions.”

West Africa has witnessed six successful military coups since 2020, marking a backslide of democracy in a region that had been seen to be making progress in shedding its "coup belt" moniker.

Omar Alieu Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, spoke at the summit that witnessed Tinubu’s election, where he echoed the sentiments passed by the newly elected chairperson.

Touray called for military juntas in West Africa to respect the agreed-upon deadline for returning to civilian rule or risk sanctions.

“In the event of a failure to meet the transition deadline, major sanctions could be imposed,” Touray said.

Touray further said ECOWAS has set up a commission to examine security options in Mali as the United Nations winds down its decade-long peacekeeping mission in the West African nation.

Information for this report was sourced from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.