Monrovia – As Liberia moves in line of securing peace and security within the ECOWAS region, the Armed Forces of Liberia Chief of Staff, Major General Daniel Ziankahn, have been appointed as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff.
“Being the Chairman of chiefs of Defense Staff, and coordinating the affairs of ECOWAS, will put Liberia in the greater position to have eyes and ears out there.
One of our main aim is how the problem of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin can be solved, for which we have Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad are affected,” Maj. Gen. Ziankahn said.
During a recent interview at his office in Monrovia upon his return to Liberia, Gen. Ziankahn, who took over the gavel of authority from the Chief of Defense Staff of Senegal Gen. Sou, was appointed at the 36th Ordinary Meetings of the Committee of Chief of Defense Staff in Togo.
He disclosed that the Lome meeting, which brought together several Chiefs of Staff from other West African States to also look at the issue of having an ECOWAS stand By Force (ESF) that came from the EU security setup, which suggested that every regional block should have its own standby force.
“As it stands, we have lots of flash points or trouble spots in West Africa, like the problem we now have in Guinea Bissau.
But as I speak to you, we have a peace keeping force in Guinea Bissau called ECOWAS Mission in Bissau (ECOMI) and we have the problem in Mali that we all know about and Liberia is contributing troops to Mali,” Gen. Ziankahn said.
When questioned as to how the decision of his appointment was made, he said, “As you may all know that ECOWAS has the committee of heads of state, for which our Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is the head.
Usually when a country is heading the committee of Heads of State, the Chairmanship of the Chiefs of Defense Staff, automatically goes to that country, and President Ellen Johnson heads the Committee of Heads of State, so, she set the basis.”
Answering as to what his duties are as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Defense Staff during his one year tenure, and as to whether it won’t interfere with his present responsibilities as AFL Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Ziankahn said the role of the Chairman of the Chief of Defense of West Africa, is to coordinate the military activities of ECOWAS.
“I will just be coordinating a quarterly meeting of the Chiefs of Defense Staff as it is usually done and I am actually getting the coordination from my other colleagues, most especially the Chief of Staff of Ivory Coast.
It is challenging but I think with the level of coordination I am getting from the other chiefs of staff from the other West African countries, things will work out fine,” he said.