Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have opened the 46th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS with focus on the political and security situation and the Ebola virus in the sub region.According to a Foreign Ministry dispatch, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, host of the occasion, outlined both success and challenges the regional body has encountered as it prepares to observe its 40th anniversary come 2015. At the opening ceremony held this morning at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, the Nigerian Leader spoke of the improved economic growth in West Africa which he noted is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent.He, however, lamented the over 7,000 deaths in West Africa resulting from Ebola, which he identified as one of the many very serious challenges facing the sub region: “In the last six months, I have witnessed the negative impact of the Ebola virus disease in the region.”Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, is representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who could not attend because of the frontline role she is playing in the crucial fight against Ebola in meeting the ‘zero-cases before Christmas’ target.Making an appeal for more support towards the Ebola fight, the Nigerian leader called on member states as well as development partners and the international community at large to contribute generously to the ECOWAS Regional Solidarity Fund to fight the Ebola virus disease.President Jonathan also named the rising trend of terrorism in West Africa as a worrisome issue that threatens the peace and insecurity of the sub-region as a result of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which he stressed, has direct consequences.Also speaking was the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority, Ghanaian President John Mahama, who asked for “all hands on deck to contain the scourge of the Ebola virus”. He said the socio-economic setbacks created by the Ebola epidemic in the three most-affected countries also have sub regional consequences.”We acknowledge that Ebola is a threat to our regional integration process and to our regional peace, security and economic development”, Chairman Mahama said.He cautioned that despite progress in Liberia and Guinea against the virus, details from Sierra Leone warrant a cause for serious concern.”Let me caution that Ebola is still a very serious challenge and we cannot entertain any complacency or relent in our efforts until the last infected person is cured of the disease and the disease is wiped out from the affected countries. I wish therefore to urge all of us to keep our hands firmly on deck, spare no effort, and [remain] vigilant until we eradicate Ebola from our sub region”, he statedEarlier, the Chairman stressed peace and security in West Africa, particularly in Burkina Faso and in Guinea Bissau as he urged his colleagues to reflect and take stock of all the work ECOWAS has managed to do in this past year and also to take practical steps to consolidate peace and security in the sub region, strengthen democracy and good governance and to address topical issues affecting the more than 350 million people of the sub region.He said notable progress has been made in addressing political and security challenges, citing the holding of successful presidential election in Guinea Bissau. The Ghanaian leader then added that 2015 will be key for the sub region as Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ivory Coast hold elections in the coming year.Other speakers at the opening event included Mohammed Ibn Chambers, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representation for West Africa and the head of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo who all re-echoed previous speakers during the opening session.The summit will be climaxed with a communiqué at the conclusion of deliberations of the day-long event.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaThe answer was an emphatic no. The Bears won eight consecutive after that, 10 of their last 12, and captured the NFC North. Along the way, they dominated the Panthers 13-3 at Soldier Field and sacked Jake Delhomme eight times. Now, they meet again. The Bears are in the playoffs for the first time in four years and are looking for their first playoff victory since beating Minnesota in the first round after the 1994 season. After going 13-3 and earning a bye in 2001, they lost by 14 to Philadelphia. The Panthers became the first road team since 1980 to score a playoff shutout when they beat the New York Giants 23-0 in the opening round last week. The defense forced five turnovers and the offense ran over a Giants team hurt by injuries to its linebacking corps. DeShaun Foster rushed for 151 yards after picking up 165 against Atlanta the previous week. After a first-round playoff bye, after a season proving the doubters wrong, the Bears host the Carolina Panthers today. The winner advances to the NFC championship game at Seattle. It all seemed unlikely, especially after a loss to Cleveland that dropped Chicago to 1-3 and left linebacker Lance Briggs wondering: “Are we that bad?” None of this seemed to awe Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who cut off a question about the Panthers’ running game this week by saying, “We’re not the Giants.” Nor are they the Falcons, for that matter. The Bears owned the NFL’s top-ranked defense for seven weeks before ending the regular season with a 34-10 loss at Minnesota that dropped that unit to second behind Tampa Bay. They allowed a league-low 12.6 points per game. And the last time the Bears met Carolina, they branded themselves an NFC contender with a victory that was as lopsided as a 10-point decision can be. Although Steve Smith finished with 169 yards receiving, Carolina’s running game was nonexistent. The Panthers managed 55 yards rushing. But they have a different look now, more speed and finesse with Foster carrying the ball and Stephen Davis on injured reserve. Foster, who started the last four regular-season games and the playoff opener, had three mediocre outings before breaking out against Atlanta. “They run a lot of tosses with him to use his speed,” Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. “That actually helps their different blocking schemes; it’s not all power. They can run some finesse-type plays. The guy runs hard, he breaks tackles. He did last game against the Giants.” The last time Delhomme faced the Bears, he spent much of the game running from pressure. When he wasn’t on the ground, he was slinging sidearm passes and throwing off his back foot. Nathan Vasher’s two first-quarter interceptions set up a touchdown and field goal, and the Bears never looked back. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LAKE FOREST, Ill. – All along, the Chicago Bears claimed they would reach this point. They said they would make the playoffs, stuck together through a tough start and proved their training camp predictions were more than just hollow chatter. And here they are.