ECOWAS confab: Utomi calls for collective investment in peace, security

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By Victoria Ojeme

ABUJA—Foremost entrepreneur and Founder of the Lagos Business School, Professor Pat Utomi, has said if the private sector must thrive in Nigeria and West Africa, governments in the region must begin a conscious investment in peace and security of the region.

Utomi, who spoke at the opening of the ongoing two-day conference on leveraging the power of the private sector in conflict prevention in West Africa, identified a zero mindset as a factor responsible for most of the conflicts ravaging most countries in the region.

Pat Utomi

Similarly, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, called on the private sector to be fully involved in peace initiatives within the sub-region, noting that outside the loss of lives of people during conflicts, businesses and investors suffer more.

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The conference is sponsored by ECOWAS in conjunction with the German Department for Foreign Investment, GIZ.

Utomi raises the alarm

Utomi warned that if something was not done urgently, the nation and the entire sub-region can descend into anarchy.

His words: “Politicians were doing things wrong, but we were too comfortable to speak. Until we all get involved, the price is paid by everyone.

“And If we do nothing, the region could descend into anarchy. Everybody has a duty to invest into the future to prevent anarchy.”

In a goodwill message, Head of Programme, GIZ Support Programme to the ECOWAS Commission, Ludwig Kirchner, noted that since the private sector seemed to be more at the receiving end of most conflicts, it was pertinent for them to come together in identifying what they could contribute in enthroning peace in the region.

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