The Senate President told his guest that the will and determination to carry out reforms is there.
Lawan expressed appreciation to the support the EU has been extending to Nigeria particularly in the areas of the electoral process and political development and cooperation.
“Our democracy since 1999 has received a lot of support from the EU and this is making a very positive impact.
“The relationship between the EU and the Nigerian government is not like it is with other organizations.
“We also have a relationship at the level of the legislature. We have the EU-ACPU joint parliamentary Assembly. We believe this is one area thru which we can continue to discuss issues that affect us in relation to the EU or what we think we can be doing together,” Lawan said.
Lawan asked of EU for more support in the area of capacity building particularly for the Senate Committees on INEC, National Planning, and Finance.
Earlier, Ambassador Karlsen said EU is for many years a very significant partner of Nigeria and expressed the hope that the current EU leadership will “be able to establish even deeper relationship with Nigeria.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to attend the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on Counter Terrorism.
Upon his arrival, the President was received by President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso.
The Aide to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, confirm through her Twitter handle that the President was also received at the Ouagadougou International airport by the Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, Defence Minister, Bashir Magashi, NSA, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), DG, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Executive Secretary of Lake Chad Basin Commission, Ambassador Nuhu Mamman and members of the Nigerian Community in Burkina Faso.
The special-one day summit by ECOWAS leaders and leaders from Chad, Cameroon and Mauritania is expected to adopt an action plan to address the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region.
The Nigerian leader is expected to address the Summit where he will renew his call for West African leaders “to strive to provide the necessary resources and tools” for regional initiatives such as Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region.
President Buhari is expected back in Abuja at the end of the Summit.
President @MBuhari arrives Ouagadougou Burkina Faso for the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on Counter Terrorism.
He is received by the President of Burkina Faso, Nigerian delegates led by the Hon. Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Nigerian Community here. pic.twitter.com/W5sEl59vQ9
President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, urged ECOWAS leaders not to allow terrorist groups destabilise the region.
”Our region has made commendable progress in the realization of its regional integration and we must not allow terrorist groups to destabilize our Community and undermine the aspirations of our people for a safe, secure and prosperous environment,” President Buhari said in his speech at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Counter-Terrorism.
”It is, therefore, our collective responsibility not to let up but to win the fight against terrorism and stamp out the scourge from our region,” he added.
President Buhari, who joined other ECOWAS leaders for the special one-day Summit, which was also attended by leaders of Chad and Mauritania decried that terrorism, today, has become a major security threat across the globe.
He warned that the activities of terrorist groups constitute a grave danger to peace and security in West Africa, the wider Sahel and the global community.
”The frequency of attacks, the determination and resilience of the terrorist groups as well as the ease with which they raise funds and acquire sophisticated weapons are matters of serious concern which should engage our attention as a Community.
”Equally worrisome, is the continuing spread of the menace of terrorism in the region and the growing link between terrorism and organized crime.
”This is why we must not relent in our efforts until we defeat the monster completely.
”And the best way to achieve this objective is through coordinated regional actions and responses against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, inter-communal disputes while we also put in place policies and measures that will address their root causes including the re-establishment and protection of livelihoods,” he said.
Sharing the experience of Nigeria in fighting the scourge, the President told the summit:
”As a major victim of Boko Haram terrorist activities, Nigeria has remained resolute in efforts to combat and eradicate them in all their forms and manifestations.
”Our counter-terrorism strategy which includes prevention, prosecution and reconstruction is also in full compliance with the Yamoussoukro counter-terrorism strategy adopted by ECOWAS Member States.
”In combating terrorism and addressing the resultant humanitarian crisis, through regional and international collaboration, ECOWAS as a Regional Economic Cooperation, would need in partnership with the African Union, to galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat this menace in our region”.
The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to apprise the regional leaders on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He described the situation in Lake Chad Basin, historically a bastion of rich culture and civilization, an area abundant in natural resources providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people, as tragic.
He noted that the area has become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists whose primitive intent was wanton destruction of lives of innocent citizens and properties as well as public infrastructure.
On MNJTF, the President reported that the achievements recorded so far in the operations remain an exemplary model of regional collaboration.
”MNJTF has largely succeeded in degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group. This could not have been accomplished without the recognition by the affected Lake Chad Basin Countries and Benin Republic, of the need to harness our efforts and resources to confront our common enemy which has now been substantially weakened.
”While much still remains to be done, I encourage MNJTF to stay steadfast in their mission, as I urge the political leadership of the LCBC countries to continue to preserve our solidarity and commitment towards achieving durable peace and sustainable development in these areas.
”In this regard, it is imperative that we continuously strive to provide the necessary resources and tools to the MNJTF, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Accra Initiative and similar initiatives, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region, ” he said.
President Buhari said he expects that the adoption of the road map, priority areas and other recommendations to the Ouagadougou Summit, if properly implemented, would go a long way in addressing the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region.
President Buhari will depart Abuja Saturday to attend the one-day ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Extraordinary Summit on Counter-Terrorism, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Given the growing threat of terrorism in the sub-region, the West African leaders had called for the Summit to review different initiatives taken so far, and redefine the priority intervention areas for the containment of the worrisome attacks in the area.
The decision to convene the Summit was reached at the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja on June 29, 2019.
President Buhari recognises the imperative of collective actions in the fight against terrorism, and will continue to partner with ECOWAS member states and international organisations to address the menace.
In Ouagadougou, ECOWAS leaders are expected to adopt a priority action plan on counter-terrorism and put in place a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the measures adopted towards ensuring lasting peace in the sub-region.
President Buhari will be accompanied by Governors Abubakar Bello, Dapo Abiodun and Okezie Ikpeazu of Niger, Ogun and Abia States respectively; as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Minister of Defence, Major-General Bashir Magashi (retd).
Also on the President’s entourage are the National Security Adviser, Maj-General Babagana Monguno (retd) and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The President is expected back in Abuja at the end of the Summit.
While declaring the session open, President Buhari on behalf of the ECOWAS, condoled with the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, banditry and inter-communal clashes perpetrated by some misguided elements within the region.
He assured all that the ECOWAS will not relent in its efforts to protect its peace-loving people and their properties, while vigorously sustaining the war against terrorism and criminality”.
President Muhammadu Buhari has told leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that his government will not relent in protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians and other neighbouring countries.
President Buhari who is the chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government stated this on Saturday while declaring the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS open in Abuja.
He said, “Let me offer, on behalf of all of us, our sincere sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, banditry and inter-communal clashes perpetrated by some misguided elements in our societies.
“We shall not relent in our efforts to protect our peace-loving people and their properties, while vigorously sustaining the war against terrorism and criminality”.
The President told Heads of State and Government there is a need for the adoption of a common strategy at the national and regional level to combat terrorism.
According to him, “We will reinforce our actions and resources for a more effective response to protect our citizens and secure our common space”.
Read Full Text Below:
STATEMENT BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, CHAIRMAN OF THE ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, AT THE 55TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, ABUJA, NIGERIA
29TH JUNE 2019
It is with great pleasure that I warmly welcome you to Abuja on behalf of the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the occasion of the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
2. To my colleagues, let me again reiterate my deep appreciation for the confidence placed on me to lead our sub-regional organization, as Chair of the Authority during the last one year. I sincerely thank you for the valuable support extended to me throughout the period.
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
3. As West African leaders, we are delighted with the platform provided by our organization to hold regular consultations. We also note with satisfaction the effective functioning of our Institutions which further bind us together as member states.
4. The fact that we have reconvened here today, to discuss developments in our sub-region, bears testimony to our sustained commitment to the consolidation of our integration as a Community. I acknowledge and commend the giant strides made by ECOWAS in this regard.
5. I also commend our individual and collective efforts towards the promotion of good governance, peace, stability and socio-economic development in our sub-region. We must remain focused on our collective endeavour to make the sub-region an area of peace and security.
6. This is an essential prerequisite if we are to attain the primary objective of our organization which is, to “promote cooperation and integration, leading to the establishment of an economic and monetary union in West Africa, in order to raise the living standards of its people and contribute to the progress and development of the African continent”.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
7. Despite the overall appreciable progress we have made, particularly in the field of political governance, our sub-region continues to face considerable security challenges. We are all witnesses to the recurring incidents of inter-communal clashes, herders-farmers conflicts, banditry and terrorist attacks in all our countries.
8. These threats, you will agree with me, have consequences on the peaceful co-existence between our communities and peoples as well as their livelihoods.
9. This unrest also undermines all our efforts in achieving full regional integration. It is, therefore, necessary that we act collectively to end this menace in the interest of regional stability and wellbeing of our people.
10. Let me offer, on behalf of all of us, our sincere sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, banditry and inter-communal clashes perpetrated by some misguided elements in our societies. We shall not relent in our efforts to protect our peace loving people and their properties, while vigorously sustaining the war against terrorism and criminality.
Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
11. Taking into account the transnational nature of the threats confronting us, the need for the adoption of a common strategy at the national and regional level to combat them, has become imperative. By so doing, we will reinforce our actions and resources for a more effective response to protect our citizens and secure our common space.
12. While I acknowledge that several initiatives and measures have been taken in our respective countries recent developments have shown that we must cooperate more effectively to achieve our goals.
13. We should send a strong and unified message to the perpetrators of violence that we are resolute in our collective determination to confront and defeat them.
14. I would like to renew our gratitude to all our colleagues who have skilfully conducted the political mediation missions we entrusted to them.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
15. As we strive to create a secure, stable and prosperous environment in West Africa, we must also intensify our efforts to ensure sustainable economic and social development in our sub-region. By doing so, we will be able to tackle poverty and youth unemployment and contribute to our sustained stability.
16. Several issues relating to different policies, programmes and projects are itemized for discussion during today’s meeting.
17. As is our custom, the 55th ordinary session will also consider these matters from the reports on today’s agenda.
18. Considering the high level of interest you all attach to regional cooperation and integration, I am confident that our Summit will witness robust discussions and produce sound decisions.
19. Let me at this point, take this opportunity to renew, once again, our sincere appreciation to the African Union, the United Nations and all our bilateral and multilateral partners for their sustained cooperation and assistance. We value their partnership.
20. I will conclude my remarks by wishing us fruitful deliberations. I hereby declare open the 55th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, has on behalf of ECOWAS, condemned the coup attempt in Ethiopia.
The President on behalf of the ECOWAS expressed sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the coup attempt, as well as the people and government of Ethiopia.
He assured that the commission was committed to the ideals of the African Union on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance adopted at the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2007, adding that the ECOWAS stands in full solidarity with the people and Government of Ethiopia.
Below is President Buhari’s full speech.
“STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT, H.E. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON THE FAILED COUP ATTEMPT IN ETHIOPIA
In my capacity as the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and on behalf of our Regional Organisation, we strongly condemn the coup attempt in the Amhara Region and the tragic events in the capital of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on Saturday 22 June, 2019.
We express our deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the coup attempt and to the people and Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
We reaffirm the imperative for the adherence to relevant African Union Instruments, principally the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the Lomé Declaration on the Unconstitutional Change of Government.
We are committed to the ideals of the African Union on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance adopted at the Eighth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2007.
We urge all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and avoid any action that could undermine the peace, unity and stability of Ethiopia.
At this trying period, we also convey our full solidarity to the people and Government of Ethiopia.
We finally reiterate our respect for the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
Muhammadu Buhari President, Federal Republic of Nigeria 25th June 2019″
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Ghanaian counterpart, John Kufuor have asked the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene in the crisis rocking the Benin Republic.
Both leaders made their position known in a joint statement released on Thursday by Obasanjo’s spokesman, Kehinde Akinyemi in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
According to them, there was a need for the intervention in order to avoid escalation of the festering political crisis.
“The crisis in Benin calls for urgent action by ECOWAS and African Union (AU) to avert the escalation of the festering political unrest.”
The former leaders believe that the country’s ongoing political crisis if not properly handled could worsen the security and humanitarian situation.
“We are of the view that all stakeholders should be carried along in the electoral process. In addition, the ongoing political crisis appears to be worsening the security and humanitarian situation which might open a floodgate to terrorist incursion that will lead to further destabilisation of the West-African sub-region, the statement read in part.”
They also want African leaders to rise to their responsibility by urgently intervening with a view to putting pressure on the incumbent administration to play the games of democracy by the rules.
The former leaders urged the AU and ECOWAS to send a strong delegation to appeal to President Talon to release his immediate predecessor who needs medical attention abroad.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal and state governments to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja over alleged attacks on journalists and bloggers.
According to a statement issued on Sunday, the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the group is suing the government for what it described as “the frequent and repressive application of the Cybercrime Act to harass, intimidate, arbitrarily arrest, detain, and unfairly prosecute anyone found publishing views or facts perceived to be critical of the government at the federal and state levels and government officials.”
In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/09/19 filed by its Solicitor Femi Falana last week at the ECOWAS Court, SERAP argued that: “The Federal Government and several state governments and their agents have trampled on the rights to freedom of expression and information of bloggers, journalists, activists, and social media users through the repressive use and implementation of the vaguely worded provisions of the Cybercrime Act.”
SERAP stressed that the idea of democracy is that the people are encouraged to express their criticisms of elected government officials, with the expectation that it will improve the process of government.
In cases of alleged defamation of government officials, the group believes sanctions should “not be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of opinion, expression and media freedom; penal sanctions, in particular imprisonment, should never be applied”.
SERAP is, therefore, seeking the following reliefs:
1. A declaration that the actions of the defendants and its agents and several states of Nigeria in arbitrarily enforcing the provisions of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 particularly its section 24 to harass, intimidate, arrest, detain, prosecute and imprison journalists, bloggers, and social media users, violate the rights to freedom of expression, information, opinion and privacy and media freedom, guaranteed under Articles 6,8,9 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Articles 7,9,17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party
2. A declaration that the provisions of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, etc) Act 2015 are entirely inconsistent and incompatible with international human rights standards and infringe on the rights to the freedom of expression, information and opinion guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
3. A declaration that the continuing use and application by the Defendant and its agents and several states in Nigeria of the Cybercrime is illegal and unlawful, as it amounts to breaches of obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression and information and media freedom
4. An order directing the defendant to immediately repeal and/or amend the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 in line with Nigerian obligations under international human rights law
5. An order directing the defendant and/or its agents and several states of Nigeria to provide effective remedies and reparation, including adequate compensation, restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant to human rights defenders, activists bloggers, journalists and other online and off-line media practitioners that have been harassed, intimidated, unlawfully arrested, detained, and unfairly prosecuted by the Defendant.
A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the suit.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has uncovered new plans by some politicians who are allegedly recruiting food vendors to facilitate vote buying in the forthcoming general elections.
INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu revealed the new vote buying technique by politicians at a meeting with the European Union elections observer group in Abuja.
According to him, the politicians have earmarked some polling units across the country where food vendors will be positioned to give cash and other incentives to voters during the exercise.
Concerns about having a free, fair and credible election have continued to increase as the date for the 2019 presidential election gets closer.
International elections observer groups are taking advantage of the last minute window of discussions with INEC, to put finishing touches to their plans and operations before the elections kick off.
At this meeting with the chairman of the independent national electoral commission in Abuja, delegations of elections observer missions from the ECOWAS and the European Union want an assessment of the electoral umpire’s preparedness for the polls.
While assuring the international observer missions of INEC’s preparedness for the general elections, the chairman of the commission raised concerns about plans by some politicians who are allegedly devising a new method of vote buying.
He also reaffirmed INEC’s stance on the use of the card readers for accreditation, insisting that every other means of accreditation is illegal.
Its less than a month to the presidential elections in February the sixteenth this year. The exercise will be keenly contested by 73 presidential candidates, the largest since the return to democratic rule in 1999.