The theme of the meeting is: “Expansion and Entrenchment of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups in Parts of Africa: Strategy for Rolling Back the Threat and Preventing a Terrorism Epicentre- Scenario on the Continent”.
The objectives of this workshop would be to generate the necessary recommendations that would facilitate the crafting of appropriate strategies for rolling back the terrorist threat on the African continent and preventing the Region from becoming a terrorism epicenter.
It could be recalled that the SIS hosted a similar meeting in June 2019, when the service was selected as Chair of the Region, a position it still maintains.
In his keynote address, the director general of SIS, who is the current chairperson of the CISSA WEST Africa Region, Ousman Sowe, thanked His Excellency the President of the Republic of The Gambia Adama Barrow and members of his government for approving the hosting of this meeting by the SIS, while welcoming the member services to this very important regional meeting. As host, he expressed his optimism by the level and full membership participation to the meeting, numbering over 47 participants from all the 15 member intelligence services.
DG SIS further dilated on the theme of the meeting, emphasising on its relevance and timeliness given the present realities in not only the Sahel and West Africa but also in other parts of Africa. This, he said gives the compelling imperative to come up with preventive anti and counter terrorism rollback strategies across the continent.
DG Sowe thus emphasised on the need for a whole-of-government, whole-of-society cooperation and collaboration with regional governments, non-governmental and civil society actors, international partners, the academia, the private sector and with full involvement of the youths and women groups. DG Sowe further stressed the need for multilayered and multifaceted approaches and strategies that include but not limited to economic, political, social, religious, educational, developmental, diplomatic and military, underpinned by actionable and strategic intelligence which he said is particularly needed for advising our political leadership on the issues.
CISSA Regional Chair Sowe concluded by recognising the continued collaboration between the member services and called on all to keep abreast with the ever evolving dynamics of terrorism and extremism, most recently the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the rise of violent extremism as well as the increased abuse of the internet for terrorism and extremist purposes.
The CISSA executive secretary, Madam Zainab Ali Kotoko in her opening remarks at the meeting, congratulated the DG SIS for his enviable leadership of CISSA West Africa in these unprecedented difficult times. She further congratulated the SIS as a service, through its DG and Chair of CISSA West Africa for hosting this very imperative virtual meeting. She expressed her belief that the deliberations in the meeting would facilitate the taking of informed decisions on appropriate strategies for rolling back the terrorist threat in the African continent and preventing the Region from becoming a terrorism epicenter.
Also speaking on the occasion was the DG, National Intelligence Agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Ambassador Rufai Abucacarr, who is also the CISSA continental chairperson. He expressed the great importance attached to such meetings for the region to forge a common understanding in a collective security response. He further stated that the Intelligence Estimates produced at such meetings would help the continent come up with strategies to roll back the threat on the continent.
He expressed his satisfaction that CISSA West Africa Region has so far been doing very well in this sphere. He said CISSA continues to strive for African integration but highlighted one of the challenges to this endeavuor as the security issues attached to the ratification of the African Union protocol on the free movement of goods and people, in line with the provisions of the Africa continental Free Trade Agreement (AcFTA).
He thus emphasised on the need for a collective collaboration ratifying this protocol without compromising respective security concerns.
The meeting ends on July 30, 2021 with the adoption of recommendations that will feed into the Continent’s Strategies in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.