The President of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, called for dialogue and the empowerment of young people to stem the threat of terrorism and banditry in West Africa.
He said most of those involved in the violence were young people who would not have suffered such vices if they had paid employment.
“We need to create wealth for our people; if you notice, most of the people who are involved in banditry are young people, they are people who don’t have a job and think they don’t have a future.
“But if we are able to create wealth; if we succeed in creating jobs for people, we would not have security problems.
“So I think that as a region our goal should be to create jobs and wealth for our citizens,” he said.
The President commended the government of Nigeria for the many empowerment programs it has put in place for young people despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said such programs could keep young people away from criminal activity.
“This is the kind of thing that I think we should be doing in all countries in the sub-region.
“If we have young people busy and they feel they belong; and they feel that there is a future for them, we will not have terrorists around, ”he said.
The President said that dialogue with the various parties agreed would also play a big role as the bandits and terrorists were citizens of West Africa.
“Terrorists are our brothers; they are our children and they are not strangers.
“Whether the bandits are Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans or Ghanaians, they are the same citizens of the community called West Africa and are likely to protect the sword,” he said.
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