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Buhari urges ECOWAS leaders to exert ‘pressure on Mali’ to return to civilian rule

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Buhari urges ECOWAS leaders to exert ‘pressure on Mali’ to return to civilian rule

By Ismaila Chafe

President Muhammadu Buhari called on West African leaders to put pressure on Mali’s military leadership to ensure that the country’s transition process does not abort.

The president’s position is contained in his statement delivered at the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Authority in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.

Malam Garba Shehu, spokesman for the president in a statement, said the Nigerian leader had spoken about the situation in Mali, which was recently suspended from the regional bloc due to a military coup.

Buhari said: “At this summit today, we must consider a number of important reports dealing with various issues of concern to our organization and our people.

“In doing so, we must make realistic and practical decisions that will have a positive impact on our citizens.

“Some of these decisions will necessarily have to do with the evolution of political and security situations in our sub-region as well as to assess the health of our organization in the hope of repositioning itself to better serve our people and our sub-region.” .

“As democracy continues to develop in our sub-region, recent events in Mali are a sad reminder that vigilance remains a crucial imperative to protect peoples’ aspirations to freely choose the form of government they desire.

“Pressure is needed so that the transition process in Mali, which is halfway to its conclusion, is not aborted.

“Another slide in Mali could prove catastrophic for the sub-region, given that around half of this country is unfortunately under the grip of terrorists.

The Nigerian leader therefore called on Mali’s military rulers to understand the critical state of their country, which he described as “clearly under siege”.

While noting that the primary responsibility of the military must be to protect and guarantee the sovereignty of the West African country, the president warned them not to perpetuate acts that would facilitate the destabilization and destruction of Mali.

“I urge our organization to remain engaged with all stakeholders in Mali through our astute mediator, former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom I warmly congratulate for his tireless efforts so far.

“I encourage him to continue these efforts to ensure that the transition ends as planned,” he added.

On Libya, Buhari criticized the recent UN resolution to expel all foreign fighters in Libya, without first ensuring that they are disarmed and without collaboration with regional stakeholders.

“On the security situation in the region, our organization must note with deep concern the recent decision of the United Nations and its resolution to expel all foreign fighters in Libya, without first ensuring that they are disarmed and that the neighboring countries and the sub-region – the regions have been engaged, to put in place modalities for the containment or management of the movements of these combatants.

“While this action was aimed at maintaining peace in Libya, the non-collaboration with regional stakeholders on this critical decision, has now created new threats to peace, security and stability in the region,” he said. -he declares.

He further maintained that this could lead to a lack of coordinated management of a huge humanitarian crisis across the Sahel, North, Central and West Africa, including the Lake Chad region.

He reiterated that these regions clearly faced the possibility of instability with the invasion of fully armed foreign fighters.

“It is imperative that the leaders of ECOWAS, at this summit, decide how the UN-sub-regional organizations partnerships should be reviewed to face the dangers that this UN resolution poses for the region”, did he declare.

The Nigerian leader’s statement at the Summit also touched on other relevant areas of concern within the organization, including the institutional reforms underway in ECOWAS.

While declaring Nigeria’s unequivocal support for the reform process, the President said he looked forward to “an ECOWAS tailored to its needs”, providing services to the satisfaction of the citizens of the community.

He congratulated the President of the Commission and his team, the Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee on Institutional Reforms and the Council of Ministers for the excellent report presented to the Conference of Heads of State.

“We have clearly realized that the operation of a bloated administration with the current global economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will come at the expense of unsustainable services to our people.

“This positive action will certainly allow our organization to move forward and provide services to the satisfaction of our community citizens.

“Let me remind you that this is only the beginning because the responsibility for the rationalization of operational costs as well as the modalities for the appointment of statutory positions of the incoming management are still pending.

“I believe that paying attention to the existing regulations that guide the appointment of statutory appointees will further ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the organization,” he said.

As the champion of ECOWAS in the fight against COVID-19, Buhari also called attention to the need to immunize more citizens of the region.

He also stressed the need to adhere to other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

He said the West African region was in the throes of a third wave, warning of complacency in national and regional initiatives to tackle the pandemic.

“The region has seen two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second wave being more widespread with higher death rates.

“Although we appear to be out of the second wave, there is a very strong possibility that we will experience a third wave similar to what is happening in other parts of the world, especially as immunization levels are still very high. weak.

“It is therefore essential to maintain vigilance and deploy smart non-pharmaceutical public health measures if necessary.

“We must not give in; our Ministers of Health in collaboration with WAHO should intensify their regular meetings of the Coordinating Committee to maintain the unified regional approach in the fight against Covid-19.

Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the lofty goals of ECOWAS, saying, “I encourage us to take bolder steps to ensure that the Organization achieves the aspirations of its founding fathers, which include a truly integrated sub-region. , economically, politically, socio-economically. culturally united and secure to enable its sustainable development and growth. (NAA)

(NAN)

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