Two officers of the ECOWAS Mission Planning and Management Cell (MPMC) have been decorated with the US Army Meritorious Medal for their outstanding contributions to the success of a multinational military exercise held in December 2006.
Colonel Daniel Ladzekpo and Lt. Col. Ibra Boulama were rewarded for their “initiative and outstanding” contributions to the success of the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) training programme. The programme is an initiative of the US government to build the capacity of the five ECOWAS partner nations involved in the exercise, the ECOWAS Standby Force and its Task Force Headquarters.
Participants were drawn from the ACOTA partner nations of Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Mali. Officers from the US military and the MPMC were also involved in the twelve-day programme, a stimulated exercise to improve the performance of officers from the region in peace support operations. The strategic and operational cells for the exercise were located at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre in Accra (KAITPC) respectively while the Tactical cells were located at Thies in Senegal, Sikasso in Mali, Lagos in Nigeria and Accra, Ghana. The Benin response cell was co-located with its Ghanaian counterpart at the KAITPC. At the brief ceremony for the decoration of Lt. Col. Boulama on Monday in Abuja, the ECOWAS director of Peacekeeping and Security, General Charles Okae said because of its huge success, Burkina Faso and Niger had since joined the ACOTA partnership train
In brief comments, the commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Colonel Mahamane Toure, praised the US for its contributions to regional peace and security and expressed the hope that the partnership will continue to meet the challenges of the future.
The Defence Attaché in the US Embassy in Nigeria, Colonel Peter Aubrey who presented the medal, said it was in recognition for supreme service and praised the officers for their dedication, excellence and technical knowledge. Colonel Ladzekpo was decorated at an earlier ceremony in Accra.