14 July 2014

West Africa: Ebola Is a Killer, Let Us Kill It - Mahama Tells ECOWAS Leaders

President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday appealed to research institutions in West Africa to collaborate to find a solution to the outbreak of the Ebola disease.

"The disease has so far claimed about 500 lives in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and there is, therefore, the need to find emergent and long term measures that will stem the disease in the region forever," he said.

President Mahama threw the challenge when he addressed the Authority of Heads of States and Governments of the members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) at the opening a two-day summit in Accra.

The two- day summit would among other issues discuss the political situation in Mali and Guinea Bissau, the threatening Ebola disease in the region, biometric identification cards for nationals of member states and the Economic Partnership Agreement.

The leaders would also discuss human rights violation in Nigeria, with the emergence of Boko Haram and other forms of abuses in the country and adjoining countries.

President Mahama commended the World Health Organisation, Doctors without Borders and other international organisations for their intervention so far, in containing the spread of the disease and called for resources that would speed up the fight against the disease.

"We must do everything within our means and power to defeat this deadly disease and we must exercise vigilance and caution and avoid any panic or misinformation," he added.

President Mahama said West Africa held great potentials for more than 300 million people who live in it and their hopes and aspirations could get a boost from discussions and decisions of the ECOWAS.

On trade and commerce, President Mahama called on member states, particularly border officials, to take all the legal and necessary steps to remove all challenges to trade and commercial activities within the region.

He said "the lingering difficulties that many enterprising West African citizens face in doing business across our borders must be addressed.

"The President said the biometric identity cards would synchronize the activities and movement of citizens of the member states and called for peace and stability that would pave way for achievement of that objective.

Mr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, President of ECOWAS Commission, said despite the numerous strides the sub-region had so far made, there were still challenges of peace and stability.

He called for a united front to enable the sub-region to fight organised crime, human rights violations and drug trafficking.

He condemned the activities of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and expressed the condolence of ECOWAS to the families of those that had been so far affected by the menace of Boko Haram.

Mr. Ouedraogo said ECOWAS would work hard to strengthen institutions and increase infrastructure to serve as the foundation for regional integration.

He gave the assurance that the recommendations and decisions made by the Heads would be implemented for the benefit of all member countries.

GNA

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