President Muhammadu Buhari says West Africa is constantly under the threat of dreaded groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaeda, adding that regional leaders are daily inundated with saddening report of human trafficking being carried out by trans-border syndicates.
He stated this on Saturday in an address of welcome delivered at the 52nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, in Abuja.
Buhari harped on the need for regional leaders to take urgent action to address the identified challenges.
According to him, “In West Africa, we live in constant threat of violent terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaeda.
“Nearly every week, we see and hear the horror of human trafficking perpetrated by trans-border syndicates, who lure our youths to slavery through irregular migration.
“We see the consequences, on our young men and women and on our economies, of drug trafficking and capital flight.
“Accordingly, it is imperative that we take urgent action to address these challenges.”
The Nigerian leader said his administration, in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, had been evacuating Nigerians who were stranded in Libya.
He stated that returnees had been receiving needed support including from state governments and some Non-Governmental Organisations.
Buhari disclosed that he had instructed the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, to speed up the evacuation of all Nigerians stranded in Libya and facilitate their resettlement.
In view of the enormity of the challenge, he suggested that regional leaders should look into the possibility of putting in place a well run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.
The President also suggested that they should step up dialogue with their European partners in their efforts to jointly address the challenge.