#TwitterBan: SERAP Drags FG To ECOWAS Court

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees
SERAP has dragged the Nigerian Government To ECOWAS Court over the recent #TwitterBan

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians have dragged the Federal Government to the ECOWAS court over the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

In the suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21 filed on Tuesday before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja, SERAP and the concerned Nigerians are seeking: “an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, and subjecting anyone including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria, to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

Following the deletion of a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed last week announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

The government has also threatened to arrest and prosecute anyone using Twitter in the country, while the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has asked all broadcast stations to suspend the patronage of Twitter.

In the suit filed by Solicitor to SERAP, Femi Falana SAN, the Plaintiffs contend that “if this application is not urgently granted, the Federal Government will continue to arbitrarily suspend Twitter and threaten to impose criminal and other sanctions on Nigerians, telecommunication companies, media houses, broadcast stations and other people using Twitter in Nigeria, the perpetual order sought in this suit might be rendered nugatory.”

The suit, read in part: “The suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticize acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.

“The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censor or restraints, and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive media output.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy, but indispensable to a thriving civil society.

“The arbitrary action by the Federal Government and its agents have negatively impacted millions of Nigerians who carry on their daily businesses and operational activities on Twitter. The suspension has also impeded the freedom of expression of millions of Nigerians, who criticize and influence government policies through the microblogging app.

“The suspension of Twitter is arbitrary, and there is no law in Nigeria today permitting the prosecution of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights through Twitter and other social media platforms.

“The suspension and threat of prosecution by the Federal Government constitute a fundamental breach of the country’s international human rights obligations including under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.

“The suspension has seriously undermined the ability of Nigerians and other people in the country to freely express themselves in a democracy, and undermined the ability of journalists, media houses, broadcast stations, and other people to freely carry out their professional duties.

“A lot of Nigerians at home and abroad rely on Twitter coverage of topical issues of public interest to access impartial, objective and critical information about ideas and views on how the Nigerian government is performing its constitutional and international human rights obligations.

“The implication of the decline in freedom of expression in Nigeria is that the country is today ranked alongside countries hostile to human rights and media freedom such as Afghanistan, Chad, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Colombia.

SERAP and the concerned Nigerians are therefore asking the ECOWAS Court of Justice for the following reliefs:

A declaration that the action of the Defendant and its agents in suspending the operation of Twitter or any other social media and microblogging application without an order of a competent court of jurisdiction is unlawful, inconsistent and incompatible with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

A declaration that the act of the Defendant in mandating its agent to commence and continue to regulate the social media in Nigeria amounts to restriction and censorship, thus violating Nigeria’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

A declaration that the act of the Defendant and its agents in suspending the operation of Twitter or any other social media and microblogging application in Nigeria without any offence known to law is incompatible with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations, and are therefore null and void to the extent of their inconsistency and incompatibility.

A declaration that the directive by the Defendant, through the National Broadcasting Commission, directing and ‘advising’ broadcast stations to deactivate their Twitter accounts and discontinue its use is a breach of the citizens’ right to freedom of expression, access to information as well as media freedom, and therefore, null and void.

A declaration that the act of the defendant to frequently threaten Nigerians and other people who use Twitter and/or other social microblogging applications in Nigeria with criminal prosecution and the actual act of suspending the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, violates the principle that there is no punishment without law, and the right to fair hearing, and therefore, null and void.

An order setting aside the suspension, ban, sanction or other punishments whatsoever imposed on Twitter, Nigerians, media houses, broadcast stations and any social media service providers by the Defendant and its agents.
An order directing the Defendant and its agents to immediately revoke, withdraw and/or rescind their suspension or ban of Twitter and/or any other social media service provider(s) in Nigeria in line with Nigeria’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Revised ECOWAS Treaty 1993.

An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant and its agents from unlawfully imposing sanctions and other punishment including criminal prosecution or doing anything whatsoever to harass Twitter, broadcast stations, Nigerians and other people and any social media service provider(s), and media houses who are Twitter users.

Such further orders the Honorable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this suit.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the interim application and the substantive suit.

ECOWAS Suspends Mali Over Second Coup In Nine Months

President of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Nana Akufo-Addo (C), addresses dignitaries at the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the situation in Mali in Accra on May 30, 2021. West African leaders met in Ghana today to discuss a response to Mali’s second coup in nine months, which has sparked warnings of fresh sanctions and deep concerns over stability in the volatile Sahel region

 

West African leaders suspended Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at an extraordinary summit Sunday, but stopped short of reimposing sanctions, after a second military coup in nine months.

The putsch had sparked deep concerns over stability in the volatile Sahel region and warnings of fresh economic penalties.

Ten regional heads of state and three foreign ministers attended the summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, with former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan serving as a mediator in the crisis.

“The suspension from ECOWAS takes immediate effect until the deadline of the end of February 2022 when they are supposed to hand over to a democratically elected government,” Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said after the meeting.

The final declaration called for the immediate appointment of a new civilian prime minister and the formation of an “inclusive” government.

In a statement, ECOWAS also reiterated that “the head of the transition, the vice-president and the prime minister of the transition must under no circumstances be a candidate for the future presidential election”.

Mali’s new president Colonel Assimi Goita — who was the nation’s vice-president until Friday — had arrived in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Saturday for preliminary talks.

Goita led the young army officers who overthrew Mali’s elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August over perceived corruption and his failure to quell a bloody jihadist insurgency.

After the takeover, the military agreed to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister under pressure from ECOWAS.

But on Monday, soldiers detained transitional president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane, releasing them on Thursday while saying that they had resigned.

The twin arrests triggered a diplomatic uproar and marked Mali’s second apparent coup within a year.

Mali’s constitutional court completed Goita’s rise to full power on Friday by naming him, transitional president.

With the junta going back on its previous commitment to civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other pledges, including a promise to hold elections in early 2022.

The junta said this week it would continue to respect that timetable, but added that it could be subject to change.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 20, 2021 Malian Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and his delegation attend the inauguration of the new river port of Konna in central Mali. Mali’s transitional President Bah Ndaw and Malian Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have resigned after the military arrested them on May 24, 2021.
MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 Five dead in fresh attack

ECOWAS issued sanctions against Mali after the August coup before lifting them when the transitional government was put in place.

The 15-nation bloc had warned of reimposing sanctions on the country, as have the United States and former colonial power France.

French leader Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper published Sunday that Paris “could not stay by the side of a country where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or a transition”.

And he warned that France would pull its troops out of Mali if the country lurches towards radical Islamism under Goita’s leadership.

France has around 5,100 troops in the region under its anti-jihadist operation Barkhane, which spans five countries in the Sahel — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Also, Sunday, underscoring Mali’s chronic instability, suspected jihadists killed four civilians and a police officer in southern Mali, a region that has previously been mostly spared from the country’s Islamist unrest, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

The unidentified men attacked a checkpoint near the town of Bougouni, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Mali’s borders with Ivory Coast and Guinea, before dawn, the official said. A local lawmaker confirmed the attack.

Mali is among the world’s poorest countries, and the previous ECOWAS sanctions hit hard.

-AFP

Mali’s New President Heads To ECOWAS Over Double Coup

 In this file photo taken on August 19, 2020 Colonel Assimi Goita speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako, Mali, after confirming his position as the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).  ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 19, 2020 Colonel Assimi Goita speaks to the press at the Malian Ministry of Defence in Bamako, Mali, after confirming his position as the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP

 

Mali’s junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita left the capital Bamako Saturday, his first full day as president, headed for Ghana where West African leaders will decide on a response to the country’s second coup in nine months.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) invited Goita to come to Ghana’s capital Accra for “consultations” ahead of an extraordinary summit on Sunday devoted to Mali, according to letter from the 15-nation bloc seen by AFP.

He flew to Accra on Saturday, military and airport sources said.

Goita had served as vice president since leading a coup last August that ousted the democratically elected president, with the roles of president and prime minister held by civilians after pressure from ECOWAS, which has served as a mediator.

However on Monday soldiers detained transitional president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane, releasing them on Thursday while saying that they had resigned.

The twin arrests triggered a diplomatic uproar and marked the second apparent coup within a year in the Sahel country.

Mali’s constitutional court completed Goita’s rise to full power on Friday by naming him transitional president.

With the junta going back on its previous commitment to civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other pledges, including holding elections in early 2020.

The junta said this week it will would continue to respect that timetable, but added that it could be subject to change.

The constitutional court said Goita would “exercise the functions of transitional president to lead the transition process to its conclusion”.

Sanctions threat

ECOWAS, which issued sanctions against Mali after the August coup before lifting them when the transitional government was put in place, will meet from 2:00 pm (1400 GMT) in Accra on Sunday.

The 15-nation bloc has warned of reimposing sanctions on the country, as has the United States and former colonial power France.

Ndaw and Ouane’s detention came hours after a government reshuffle that would have replaced the defence and security ministers, both of whom were army officers involved in the August putsch.

On Friday, Goita said the army had had little choice but to intervene.

“We had to choose between disorder and cohesion within the defence and security forces and we chose cohesion,” he said.

Goita added that he wants to name a prime minister from the opposition M5 movement within days.

M5 spearheaded protests against former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2020 that built up pressure ahead of his ouster, but it was excluded from key posts in the army-dominated post-coup administration.

A rapprochement with the group might serve to soften domestic and foreign criticism of the military.

In Mali, regularly ranked among the world’s poorest countries, the previous ECOWAS sanctions were felt hard by a country reeling from numerous crises, including a grinding jihadist insurgency.

 

AFP

Buhari To Visit Ghana Over Mali Crisis

FILE: President Muhammadu Buhari climbs the stairs of the Presidential Jet as he embarks on a medical trip to the United Kingdom on March 30, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for Accra, Ghana to attend an emergency Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS, convened to discuss the recent political developments in Mali.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, announced the visit on Saturday via a statement.

The President is expected back in the country “at the end of the one-day Summit.”

According to Mr Adesina, the meeting is at the instance of the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Prior to the Extraordinary Summit, the President had met with the Special Envoy and ECOWAS mediator in Mali, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who briefed him on the latest developments in the country following his meeting with key political actors in the West African country.

“As the situation in Mali continues to evolve, Nigeria had condemned the May 24 military coup, the subsequent detention of the president and prime minister by soldiers, and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilian officials detained,” the statement added.

“President Buhari will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, and Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.”

ECOWAS Favours Buhari’s Candidate For AU Appointments

 

The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have agreed to step down their candidates for Commissioner for Peace and Security in the African Union in favour of a Nigerian candidate as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed this to state house correspondents on Tuesday after the closed door virtual extraordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mr Onyeama wants Nigerians to recognize the gesture as a sign of the great respect African leaders have for President Muhammadu Buhari.

He also stated that the choice of candidate for the Head of the African Union from the ECOWAS block would also favour the candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Top on the agenda for the meeting was the selection of a chairperson for the African Union for the 2022-2023 tenure and a proposed mechanism for designation of countries in the coming years, a review of the report of the council of ministers on the harmonization of member states applications for positions in international organizations and the status of the implementation of ECOWAS institutional reforms.

President Buhari Commits $100m To Fight Terrorism In ECOWAS Sub-Region

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has committed the sum of $100m to combat insecurity in the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) sub-region.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, told attendees at the virtual 58th ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, that the sum of $20m will be released for the implementation of the ECOWAS action plan on the fight against terrorism.

He said another $80m will be disbursed towards the fight against terrorism and banditry in Nigeria’s north-east and north-west regions.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari attends 58th ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

 

According to the minister, President Buhari has called for the immediate implementation of the action plan, which is expected to run from 2020 to 2024.

In 2015, President Buhari had hinged his election campaign on three major areas – economic development, fighting insecurity and corruption.

He restated that promise upon his re-election in 2019.

 

 

Read Also: Security Is Not Something You Can Put a Timeline On – Adesina

Government officials as well as the Nigerian Army have severally stated that Boko Haram insurgents no longer have authority over any part of the country, especially in the northeast where the insurgents once had a stronghold.

The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche has once told Channels Television what the country now has are remnants and a weakened enemy (Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters).

While the government continues to insist that successes have been recorded in its insurgency war, with banditry now seemingly on the rise, some have faulted the claims even as many, including frontline officers, have had to pay the supreme price.

Still, the government believes that the insecurity fight under the current administration has been far more progressive than in previous governments.

ECOWAS, AU, UNOWAS Commend Ghana For Peaceful 2020 Election

A man reads a newspaper at a newsstand as Ghanaians await the results of elections in Accra, on December 8, 2020. PHOTO: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has commended Ghana for the peaceful conduct of the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections in the country.

In a joint statement issued by ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) they urged political stakeholders and citizens to exercise patience and remain calm even as the Electoral Commission was yet to announce the final official results.

READ ALSO: Ghana Opposition Candidate Mahama Warns Against Electoral Fraud Ahead Of Results

“We, the Heads of ECOWAS and African Union Election Observation Missions, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel and the Head of UNOWAS commend the people of Ghana for the peaceful conduct of the 7 December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. This is in line with Ghana’s enviable track record of organising peaceful and successful elections since the return to multiparty democracy in 1992.

“As Ghanaians await the announcement of final official results by Electoral Commission, the Heads of ECOWAS and the African Union Observation Missions to Ghana, and UNOWAS urge all political stakeholders and the citizenry to exercise patience and remain calm,” the statement read in part.

They also lauded the major political parties in the country – NPP and NDC for their role in preserving the culture of conducting peaceful elections in Ghana.

“In recognition of the important role of the political leaders, especially the two major parties, the NPP and NDC, in preserving the peace in line with their commitments, including the signing of the Peace Pact on 4 December 2020, we urge all political parties and their leadership to respect the spirit and letter of these commitments,” the statement added.

They, therefore, urged the political parties and their followers to refrain from any conduct that may undermine the successful conclusion of the electoral process and state institutions to continue to carry out their responsibilities with professionalism and transparency.

#EndSARS: ECOWAS Urges Nigerian Govt To Conduct Speedy Investigation Into Shootings

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has urged the Nigerian Government to conduct a speedy investigation in the shooting that occurred at the Lekki Toll Gate area of Lagos State.

In a statement on Wednesday, the body expressed its condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives during the protests and also wished the injured speedy recovery.

ECOWAS also said while it recognises the right of citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and protests, it wishes that those rights be exercised in a non-violent manner.

“In this regard, ECOWAS Commission calls on all protesters to remain peaceful in the conduct of their demonstrations. It also urges the Nigerian security operatives to exercise restraint in the handling of the protests and act professionally,” the statement read in part.

“ECOWAS Commission further notes that, in an effort to address the demands of the protesting youth, the Federal Government of Nigeria took important decisions regarding disbandment of SARS, comprehensive police reforms and investigation of cases of police brutality. It encourages the Nigerian Authorities to conduct the investigation rapidly”.

Other international organisations such as the United Nations have also weighed in on the matter.

The Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called on the Nigerian authorities to investigate the incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.

ECOWAS Lifts Post-Coup Sanctions Against Mali

 

 

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The West African regional bloc ECOWAS announced Tuesday that it was ending sanctions imposed against Mali after a military coup in August, saying it wished to back the return to civilian rule.

In a statement, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said “heads of state and government have decided to lift sanctions” after noting positive steps towards a constitutional government.

It noted the publication of a roadmap for the transition period.

The 15-nation group imposed tough sanctions against one of Africa’s poorest countries after president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was ousted following mass protests.

The coup was bloodless but triggered widespread alarm among Mali’s neighbours.

A coup in 2012 was followed by an uprising in northern Mali which morphed into a bloody Islamist insurgency, claiming thousands of lives and threatening neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

The ECOWAS sanctions, imposed on August 20, included border closures and a ban on commercial trade and financial flows but not basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel or electricity.

Under pressure, Mali’s junta endorsed a “charter” to restore civilian rule within 18 months and appointed a committee which chose 70-year-old retired colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president.

Despite this, ECOWAS insisted on the publication of the transition roadmap and warned it could not accept junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who is interim vice president, as Ndaw’s potential replacement.

The bloc has now taken into account “notable advances towards constitutional normalisation,” according to a French text of Tuesday’s statement, signed by President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, who currently chairs ECOWAS.

It also called on “all bilateral and multilateral partners to support Mali.”

The communique also called for civilian and military officers detained during the coup to be released, and for the junta, which calls itself the National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), to be dissolved.

The statement was issued a day after Ndaw appointed a government, headed by former foreign minister Moctar Ouane, in which junta members occupy key positions.

The “charter” also sets down the goals of re-establishing security across the nation, two-thirds of which are outside government control; of “restoring the state”; and of staging general elections.

-AFP

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Jonathan Visits Buhari Over Mali Crisis As ECOWAS Deliberate On Next Step

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), at the behest of their Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, may confer again to discuss outstanding grey areas in the Mali political situation, President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated.

The President spoke after receiving a briefing at State House, Abuja, Monday, from ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Mali has appointed a civilian as Interim President, who will stay in office for 18 months, and lead the country back to constitutional order after the military had taken over power in the country. That was part of irreducible demands by West African leaders before sanctions imposed on the country could be lifted.

However, according to the Special Envoy, the military leaders are yet to satisfy ECOWAS demand of a full civilian as Vice President, and what his roles would be in government.

That position is currently being held by a serving military officer, who was also one of the leaders of the take-over.

President Buhari counseled the Special Envoy to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, “who will then write us officially, and we then determine the next steps.”

The President said with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, “the priority of the military should be to secure their country,” rather than hold on to power.

Ex-Defence Minister Appointed Mali’s Transition Leader

Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa and the eighth-largest country in Africa
Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa and the eighth-largest country in Africa

 

 

Mali’s military junta announced the leaders of a new transition government in the Sahel state on Monday, which will retain strong army links despite international pressure to appoint civilians.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita said in a televised statement that former defence minister Bah Ndaw would become transition president — while he himself would serve as vice president.

The announcement comes after the 15-nation West Africa bloc ECOWAS last week gave Mali’s ruling officers “days” to appoint civilian leaders, warning that it would not lift sanctions on the country otherwise.

 

President of the CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of the People) Assimi Goita (C) prepares for a meeting between Malian military leaders and an ECOWAS delegation headed by former Nigerian president on August 22, 2020, in an aim to restore order after the military coup in Bamako. ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP
President of the CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of the People) Assimi Goita (C) prepares for a meeting between Malian military leaders and an ECOWAS delegation headed by former Nigerian president on August 22, 2020, in an aim to restore order after the military coup in Bamako. ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP

 

West African leaders imposed sanctions on Mali — including a trade embargo and shuttered borders — in the wake of the August 18 military coup that ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The junta said last week that it would prefer the military to run the transition, however.

Ndaw, a 70-year-old retiree, was appointed transition president by a committee chosen by the junta, Goita said on Monday.

“Each proposal has its advantages and its disadvantages,” he said, referring to the choice between a civilian, or military president.

He added that the committee had taken “a global context” into account when picking Ndaw, in an apparent reference to pressure from ECOWAS.

– Helicopter pilot –

Ndaw is a former helicopter pilot who was once an aide-de-camp to Mali’s ex-dictator Moussa Traore, who died last week aged 83.

He later served as a defence minister under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita — who was ousted in the military coup last month.

A veteran soldier, Ndaw also received training in the former Soviet Union as well as at Paris’s renowned Ecole de Guerre.

Monday’s announcement followed a three-day forum with political parties and civil-society representatives earlier this month, which met to outline a roadmap to restore civilian rule in Mali.

According to a charter which emerged from that forum, the transition president is meant to rule for 18 months before staging nationwide elections.

Delegates had hotly debated the military’s role in the transition government, with some arguing to hand over power to civilians in line with ECOWAS wishes.

Mali’s neighbours, who are anxious the war-torn country could spiral into chaos, have been pressuring the junta to swiftly hand over power.

Two days after the coup, ECOWAS stopped financial and commercial trade with Mali, except for basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel and electricity.

The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.

It was these state failures that provoked people into the streets earlier this year, with months of protests and unrest building up to the military arresting president Keita and seizing control.

ECOWAS has yet to react to Ndaw’s nomination as transition president, nor to Goita as vice president.

A swearing-in ceremony will take place on Friday, Goita said.

AFP

ECOWAS Heads Of State Agree To Reject Forceful Change Of Govt In Mali

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo meets with other ECOWAS leaders in Ghana on September 15, 2020.

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State have unanimously agreed to reject the forceful change of government in Mali.

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking after representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS on the situation in Mali.

He said the region’s leaders agreed that the transition to democratic rule in Mali must take a maximum of 18 months and the transitional government should be heeded by a civilian.

The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Zubairu Dada and is now on his way back to the country from Ghana.

The West African leaders said they hope to see a civilian-led transition government installed in Mali “in days” following the talks with the military junta that seized power in the fragile state last month.

ECOWAS slapped sanctions on the country after the putsch, including closing borders and a ban on trade and financial flows, and has called for elections within 12 months.

Read Also: ECOWAS Hope For Mali Civilian Transition ‘In Days’

“We need a civilian leadership of the transition,” Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, who currently chairs ECOWAS, told journalists after hosting the meeting.

“The minute that leadership is put in place through the processes they themselves have agreed upon in Mali, the sanctions that have been placed against Mali will be lifted by ECOWAS.”

Akufo-Addo said that a mediator from the bloc would travel to Bamako in a week and that regional leaders wanted the process finished.

“I’m hoping that by the time he gets there these things would have been completed,” the Ghanaian leader said.

“We’re talking hopefully in days not in weeks.”

ECOWAS had given Mali’s new military rulers until Tuesday to name a civilian president and prime minister to head a transitional government.

The junta missed that deadline but its leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who was appointed interim head of state, attended the talks in Ghana on his first trip abroad since his seizure of power.