President Muhammadu Buhari has said that any decision to be taken by ECOWAS leaders on the political situations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea must take into account the victims of unconstitutional changes of government and the adverse consequences of isolation on them. .
The President spoke on Saturday in Accra, Ghana at the 6th Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State on the political situation in the three countries.
According to a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, he expressed concern that since the last ECOWAS Leaders Summit on March 25 this year, little has been achieved in terms of having a an acceptable timetable for the holding of elections aimed at restoring democratic rule in the affected countries.
He noted that although Burkina Faso’s military rulers released President Kaboré as requested by ECOWAS leaders, further steps must be taken to ensure his safety and full freedom.
President Buhari warned that the security situation in Mali and Burkina Faso had reached alarming levels with relentless attacks by extremist groups against the civilian population and military installations, worsening the humanitarian situation in both countries.
”The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Mali and Burkina Faso should be of grave concern to us as leaders in the region. As you may know, the world is still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has destroyed the global economy.
”As our economies begin to recover, the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to soaring prices for many basic commodities, including foodstuffs.
“We therefore have no choice but to find ways to support our economies by becoming more creative and evolving in finding other channels of demand and supply, to ensure that we cushion the effects. from war and keep our economies from collapsing, and our people remain productive.
“We must therefore ensure that whatever decision we take, we remember the mass of the populations of the affected countries, victims of the unconstitutional change of government and the harmful consequences of the isolation induced”, he said. -he adds. said.
To this end, the Nigerian leader called on the Authority to review the report presented by former President Goodluck Jonathan, the ECOWAS mediator on Mali, on a transition timetable for the West African country.
President Buhari noted that Jonathan had recommended a transition period of 16 months’ as well as his other personal appeal and observations to give us Mali’s military rulers up to 18 months to conduct elections, starting in March. 2022”.
“Furthermore, Nigeria also requests the Authority to consider the proposal made earlier for the President to personally travel to Bamako and present this proposal. Nigeria also welcomes the magnanimous offer of President Macky Sall, Speaker of the African Union Assembly, to accompany HE President Nana Addo to Bamako for this purpose.
“Based on our findings, we are confident that the proposed high-level visit would be well received by military leaders and achieve the necessary consensus. At the same time, the region must be ready to provide the necessary support for Mali to return to democratic rule as soon as possible.”
Regarding the situation in Guinea and Burkina Faso, President Buhari expressed concern that so far the proposed timelines do not meet the expectations of regional leaders as well as those of their respective citizens.
He urged the military authorities of Burkina Faso and Guinea to renew their determination and immediately provide acceptable timeframes for the return to democracy in their respective countries.
He announced that Nigeria fully supports any action, including the imposition of further sanctions that the Authority may adopt to compel the military leaders of the two countries to submit an acceptable electoral timetable.
“Nevertheless, there is a need for ECOWAS to continue to engage military commands and key stakeholders in Burkina Faso and Guinea in order to reach an acceptable agreement, particularly on transition timelines,” he said. declared.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Authority and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo thanked his counterparts for their strong commitment to democracy, peace and stability in the region and to remain focused on the situation. in the countries.
President Akufo-Addo, who acknowledged the presence of African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the Summit hopes to find lasting solutions to political instability and the resurgence of coups. in the region since August 2020.