The Nigerian government has appealed to political leaders in Guinea Bissau to embrace unity and avoid any act that could plunge the nation into further crisis.
In a meeting on Monday with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Guinea Bissau, Mr Modibo Toure, President Muhammadu Buhari decried the lingering political crisis in the West African country.
“They must accept responsibility for leadership to stabilise their own country,” the President warned.
He pointed out that the country’s political leaders, not outsiders that could effectively resolve the political crisis in Guinea Bissau.
A statement by the spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said that President Buhari told the visiting envoy that Nigeria would welcome increased support from ECOWAS and the United Nations to stabilise the country and prevent breakdown of law and order.
President Buhari said Nigeria had a responsibility to the region and the rest of Africa and assured him that “we will not shirk on our responsibility, in spite of the hardship confronting us”.
Mr Toure had requested that Nigeria should use its clout in the regional bloc, ECOWAS, to break the deadlock in Guinea Bissau.
He warned that the nation faced a very grim future if the country continued without a functioning government.
The former Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Carlos Correia, on Friday, denounced the dismissal of his government by President Jose Mario Vaz as a “constitutional coup d’etat”, as a new prime minister was sworn in.
Opponents of Vaz protested outside the presidential palace on Thursday night, burning tires and throwing rocks, after he named Baciro Dja as Guinea-Bissau’s new Prime Minister, Reuters reports.
Vaz sacked Correia and his government on May 12, claiming they had proved incapable of managing a months-long political crisis.
“We are facing a constitutional coup d’etat because the dismissal of my government is unconstitutional,” Correia told Reuters.
Guinea-Bissau has been embroiled in a power struggle within the ruling PAIGC party since last summer, caused in part by the overlapping duties of the president and prime minister in its semi-presidential system.
Members of Correia’s government were still at their offices on Friday and he said they will not transfer their duties to ministers named by Dja.
The PAIGC said in a statement it would not support the new prime minister, who was sworn in on Friday.
It is the second time Vaz has named Dja to head the government, having appointed him last August after sacking then Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, the president’s principal rival in the PAIGC.
There is significant improvement in freedom of information in Guinea-Bissau, as a result of two years of instability occasioned by the return to democracy.
According to a RSF report, several privately-owned media outlets have started operating again and the new government has reaffirmed the free speech rights guaranteed by the constitution and laws adopted in 2005.
Nonetheless, coverage of government shortcomings, organised crime and the military’s continuing influence are all still subject to a great deal of self-censorship.
President Muhammadu Buhari says he decided to enlist the assistance of a former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to mediate in the political crisis in Guinea Bissau because of his wide political and military experience.
In a meeting on Saturday with the President of Guinea Bissau, Jose Mario Bavz, on the sidelines of the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Buhari also said he had considered the former President’s strong commitment to the unity of Nigeria and Africa before choosing him.
In a statement, a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted President Buhari as saying that he sent former President Obasanjo because he was the only person living or dead that has ruled Nigeria for 11 years.
“I served under him as a military Head of State. He has a strong commitment to Nigeria and Africa. That was why I looked for him and asked him to collaborate with President Macky Sall of Senegal to stabilise the situation of Guinea Bissau,” President Buhari explained.
While appreciating President Bavz’s expression of thanks for Nigeria’s support during the crisis in his country, President Buhari told him that the support Nigeria gave to his country was the least Nigeria could do to stabilise Guinea Bissau. He assured him that he could count on Nigeria’s support at all times.
President Bavz had said he came to thank President Buhari for everything Nigeria had done for his country, adding that he had been looking forward to such an opportunity.
“I am not in a position to assist you but I pray for you every day. I want to take you as my big brother and share from your experience. Nigeria is part of the solution and stability of my country,” he said.
A former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has led some Colombian security experts to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, to share their experience in combating terror.
The former president, who spoke with State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting on Monday, said that Nigeria needs to learn how Colombia has survived insurgency for more than 50 years.
Asked to speak on the possibility of the Nigerian armed forces not defeating Boko Haram at the end of the three months deadline given to them by President Buhari, Obasanjo said that the deadline was not cast on stones but to encourage the troops to crush the sect.
Chief Obasanjo also briefed President Buhari on his assignment as special envoy to Guinea Bissau.
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended President Jose Mario Vaz and the people of Guinea-Bissau for the peaceful resolution on the recent political crisis that left the country without a government for 37 days.
The president also applauded the laudable role played in the resolution of the crisis by his Special Envoy, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was also adopted by ECOWAS as the regional body’s Special Envoy on the political dispute in Guinea-Bissau.
President Buhari while welcoming President Jose Mario Vaz’s acceptance of solution to the recent political crisis proffered by Chief Obasanjo, he also congratulates Mr. Carlos Correia on his emergence as the new Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau.
He has advised all stakeholders in the development and progress of Guinea-Bissau to desist from any further actions that can jeopardize the stability of the country and its democratic future.
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the leadership in Guinea Bissau, including the military, to ensure respect for constitutional order, sanctity of life and safety of citizens.
He also asked them to avoid taking any further action that could threaten the fragile democratic institutions recently established in the West African country.
In a statement on Friday by President Buharis’ spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President expressed deep concern about the unfolding political situation in Guinea Bissau following the dismissal of the Prime Minister, Mr Domingos Simoes Pereira and his cabinet by President Jose Mario Vaz.
The former Nigerian President embarked on the first leg of his mission by consulting with the current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Macky Sall of Senegal in Dakar yesterday.
“It is regrettable that while Former President Obasanjo was still consulting with President Sall, President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau proceeded to appoint and swear-in a new Prime Minister, Mr Baciro Dja, a development that has worsened the political situation in his country,” the Nigerian President said.
President Buhari appeals for calm and calls on the leadership in Guinea Bissau to exercise utmost restraint and ensure the maintenance of law and order as efforts continue to resolve the current crisis.
The President particularly urges the leadership in Guinea Bissau, including the military, to ensure respect for constitutional order, sanctity of life and safety of citizens, and avoid taking any further action that can threaten the fragile democratic institutions recently established in the country.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has sent a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to Guinea Bissau, as his Special Envoy, to mediate and help find a solution to the crisis brewing in the West African nation.
The Nigerian President had raised concern over the unfolding political situation in Guinea Bissau following the dismissal of the Prime Minister, Mr Domingos Simoes Pereira and his cabinet by President Jose Mario Vaz.
According to a statement by a spokesman to President Buhari, Femi Adesina, former President Obasanjo embarked on the first leg of his mission by consulting with the current Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Macky Sall of Senegal in Dakar on Thursday.
“It is regrettable that while Chief Obasanjo was still consulting with President Sall, President Jose Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau proceeded to appoint and swear-in a new Prime Minister in the person of Mr Baciro Dja, a development that has worsened the political situation in his country,” President Buhari said.
He further appealed for calm and called on the leadership in Guinea Bissau to exercise utmost restraint and ensure the maintenance of law and order as efforts continue to resolve the current crisis.
The Director, Global Shapers Community, Yemi Babington-Ashaye has said that over 50 young people from different parts of Africa will be joining the World Economic Forum On Africa, that is slated to hold in Abuja from May 7-9
Mr. Ashaye mentioned that young people from Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Angola amongst other parts of Africa will be in attendance at the summit.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Ashaye stated that there are 330 hubs in more than 155 countries around the world and in Africa there is at least one hub in every African country.
He explained the role of his hub, Global Shapers as the bringing together of young professionals from different part of the world, working together locally to help other young people from various communities, which is part of the reasons 50 young persons from over 30 African countries will be attending the forum, he said.
“Part of the reasons why we exist is to give young people a seat at the table anywhere the agenda is being shaped, we see young people as a part of the solution to challenges that societies face”.
He said that the hub is about self-organizing for local impact, education, employability and entrepreneurship adding that these hubs also consist in Lagos, Abuja, Mali amongst other countries.
In terms of financing these hubs, Mr. Ashaye noted that they finance it individually but where there is no access to funds, they work with “local stakeholders” who can finance it and not government.
Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations, Honourable Nnena Ukeje, has stressed that the security of lives and properties of Nigerians is guaranteed under the constitution of Nigeria.
Channels Television’s Network Africa met with Honourable Nnena Ukeje and she shared the country’s constant efforts at implementing the laws to protect Nigerians living abroad.
Since the recent killing of a Nigerian in India, there has been a lot of focus on the welfare of Nigerians living abroad. More worrisome for many has been the alleged reluctance of the Indian authorities to apprehend the perpetrators of the act.
Hon. Ukeje in this interview stated that Nigeria already has the right laws under the Nigerian Constitution to ensure that the lives and properties of Nigerians living in Nigeria are well protected. However, it is the responsibility of the Nigerian Missions abroad to enact these laws towards ensuring that Nigerians living around the world, do not get into danger and when they do, they can be well protected.
She however added that “we do not have the powers to investigate or to bring to book as it were, crimes in other countries, what we do is ensure that that happens. So the Nigerian embassies are a little handicapped.”
The perceived vulnerability of Nigeria’s peacekeeping missions to other countries, and its effects on Nigerians living in those countries and other countries also came under the spotlight.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria has called on Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces to embrace total respect for democracy and constitutionalism in the interest of their nation.
Addressing a special session of the National Peoples’ Assembly in Bissau on Friday during a visit to the country, President Jonathan stressed that the global community was no longer inclined to tolerate a role in governance by the military in Africa and other parts of the world.
“It is no longer fashionable today to see the military parading themselves as the custodians of political power. Rather, it is fashionable for the military to embrace the protection, preservation and total respect for constitutional order and democracy in order to build a prosperous and an egalitarian society,” President Jonathan said at the session which was also attended by members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society organizations.
President Jonathan was in Bissau to show solidarity to the Government and people of Guinea-Bissau as part of efforts to ensure lasting peace and stability on the African continent.
He reiterated Nigeria’s condemnation of recent attacks on the Nigerian Embassy and Nigerian nationals in Guinea-Bissau.
“’Mischief makers’ in Guinea Bissau should be discouraged from inciting the public against brotherly Nigerians and Africans,” President Jonathan emphasised.
He called on the authorities of Guinea-Bissau to bring the perpetrators of the criminal attacks to justice.
“We should be our brothers’ keepers and work hand-in-hand in this era of globalization so as to reap the fruits that come with it. I want to reassure you that the incident that led to the death of a Nigerian will not deter us from our desire to ensure that peace and stability is restored in Guinea-Bissau,” he told the Parliament.
“We Identify with your aspiration to transform your country to the status of a stable and democratic society that will guarantee peace and stable democratic governance, which is a fundamental prerequisite for meaningful economic development,” he said.
The Nigerian President, therefore, called on the country’s political leaders and members of its Armed Forces to remain steadfast and maintain the commitment which they have demonstrated right from the onset until the transition process would be successfully completed with a general elections which would take place soon.
President Jonathan further urged all stakeholders in the country to sheathe their swords and work together in harmony to salvage the nation. He assured the gathering that Nigeria and ECOWAS would continue to make financial and material contributions to ensure that the general elections are held as quickly as possible.
The Speaker of the National Peoples’ Assembly, Ibraima Sori Djalo, thanked President Jonathan and the Nigerian Government for “Nigeria’s presence in our country every time we need support, particularly in this last crisis to which we are determined to find a solution.”
He described the October attack on Nigerians in Guinea-Bissau as “very depressing” and reiterated the earlier official apology conveyed to Nigeria on the incident.
Both countries later signed a Cooperation Agreement to boost bilateral relations between them.
The agreement was signed by the Nigerian Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed and his Guinea Bissau counterpart, Fernando Delfim da Silva, in the presence of President Jonathan and his host, the Interim President of Guinea Bissau, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo and top government officials of both countries.
During bilateral talks between the delegations of the two countries, which preceded the signing of the cooperation agreement, President Nhamadjo informed President Jonathan of the commitment of his government to conduct general elections and implement the reformation of Guinea-Bissau’s Security and Defence Forces with the assistance of ECOWAS.
He also thanked President Jonathan for his tireless and positive efforts as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Contact Group on Guinea Bissau and Nigeria’s material and human support especially through its troops in ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB).
Before departing Guinea Bissau for The Gambia, President Jonathan met with members of the Nigerian community and also visited the Nigerian contingent of ECOMIB at Bras, Bissau.