Abdallah Bello FRCN
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on West African leaders to exert pressure on the military leadership in Mali to ensure that the transition process in the country is not aborted.
The President’s position was contained in his statement delivered at the 59th Ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Accra, Ghana.
While democracy continues to develop in the sub-region, President Buhari said recent events in Mali were reminders that vigilance remained a crucial imperative to protect people’s aspirations to freely choose the form of government they want.
He said pressures were needed to ensure that the transition process in Mali, which is half-way to its conclusion, was not aborted.
President Buhari noted that a further slide in Mali could prove catastrophic to the sub-region, considering that about half of that country was under the grip of terrorists.
The President equally cautioned them not to perpetuate acts that would facilitate the destabilisation and destruction of Mali.
President Buhari urged ECOWAS to remain engaged with all stakeholders in Mali through the mediator, former President Goodluck Jonathan whom, he congratulated for his untiring efforts thus far.
On the security situation in the region, he said ECOWAS must note with serious concern, the recent decision by the United Nations and its Resolution to expel all foreign fighters in Libya, without first, ensuring that they are disarmed and that neighbouring countries and the Sub-regions were engaged, to put in place modalities for containing or managing the movement of these fighters.
President Buhari said it was imperative that ECOWAS leaders, at the Summit, decide how the UN-Sub-regional partnership should be reviewed to address the dangers the UN Resolution had posed to the region.
Declaring Nigeria’s support to the reforms process, the President said he was looking forward to an ECOWAS that was fit for purpose, delivering services to the satisfaction of the community citizens.
In his capacity as the ECOWAS champion on the fight against Covid-19, President Buhari drew attention to the need for more citizens in the region to be vaccinated, stressing the need for adherence to other non-pharmaceutical interventions.