Stakeholders To Set New Date For ECOWAS-ECCAS Summit On Boko Haram

ECOWASNigeria will hold further consultations with other stakeholders to agree on a new date for the ECOWAS-ECCAS security summit on Boko Haram, President, Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday.

The meeting was earlier scheduled to hold in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on April 8, 2015, but it was postponed because of Nigeria’s general elections held on March 28 and April 11.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari, Femi Adesina, said the Nigerian leader gave the hint about the planned meeting with stakeholders for a new date at a meeting with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

Victory Over Terrorism

President Buhari welcomed efforts to strengthen and expand cooperation between ECOWAS and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on the war against terrorism.

He reiterated his view that greater regional and international cooperation was needed to ensure victory over terrorism in Nigeria and other countries.

The President also assured Mr Ouedraogo that Nigeria would continue to fulfill its financial obligations to ECOWAS to enhance the regional body’s ability to attain its objective of regional integration and development.

President Buhari commended the ECOWAS Commission and other ECOWAS institutions for progress made on the Biometric Identity Card system, which would come into force in 2016.

He said that its introduction would be a major milestone to full regional integration and the free movement of ECOWAS citizens within the sub-region.

Wave Of Terror

There have been wave of terror in the Central and West African region, occasioned by inter-religious crisis in the Central region and the Boko Haram terrorist group in the west.

Close to two million persons have been displaced in Nigeria’s north-east, the stronghold of the terrorist group.

At an African Union summit in South Africa weeks ago, the Nigerian President stressed the need for more collaboration between countries bordering the oil-rich nation in West, which have eaully recorded cases of terror attacks. He said the collaboration would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group to end their activities in the region.

President Jonathan Leaves For ECOWAS Summit In Accra

jonathan_goodluck3President Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja on Wednesday for Accra to participate in the Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government scheduled to open in the Ghanaian capital on Thursday.

The Nigerian President and other Heads of State and Government attending the two-day summit are expected to consider and adopt the 2014 Interim Report of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

They will also deliberate on the report of the 72nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers as well as the report of the 32nd Session of the regional body’s Mediation and Security Council.

Security challenges in some West African countries and how to tackle them are issues expected to top discussions.

For over four years, the Nigerian Armed Forces have been trying to contain insurgency in the northeast. A terrorist group, Boko Haram, has carried out series of attacks on villages, churches and schools in the region.

In neighbouring Cameroon and Niger Republic, members of the terrorist group have also attacked villages. Nigeria and the neighbouring countries are considering review of some treaties that could birth the collaboration of both countries’ military forces in the fight against the insurgents.

President Jonathan will be accompanied to the Summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga.

The Nigerian delegates will return to Nigeria at the conclusion of the summit on Friday.

Jonathan, ECOWAS condemn coup in Mali

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on Thursday condemned “in strong terms”  the reported coup d’etat by Malian rebel soldiers, who took over control of the country from the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Renegade Malian soldiers went on state television
Renegade Malian soldiers went on state television on Thursday morning to declare that they had suspended the nation’s constitution and seized power in a coup after the government failed to quell a nomad-led rebellion in the north.

The soldiers of the newly formed National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR), led by Amadou Konare, read out a brief statement stating that “the CNRDR … has decided to assume its responsibilities by putting an end to the incompetent regime of Amadou Toumani Toure.”

“We promise to hand power back to a democratically elected president as soon as the country is reunified and its integrity is no longer threatened,” said Mr Konare, flanked by about two dozen soldiers.

A nationwide curfew was subsequently declared “until further notice”.

The West-African country has struggled to contain a northern rebellion launched late last year by local Tuareg nomads in which dozens have been killed and nearly 200,000 civilians have fled their homes.

President Jonathan, who expressed displeasure and dismay over the action of the renegade troops, described the move as “an apparent setback to the consolidation of democracy in Mali in particular and the African continent in general.”

He warned the coup plotters to allow the on-going democratic process in the country to run its full course and not to do anything that would truncate the electoral process especially the presidential election slated for next month.

Also the ECOWAS Commission in a statement by the President, Désiré Kadré Ouedraogo, strongly condemned what it called the “misguided actions of the mutineers” and warned that it will not condone any recourse to violence as a means of seeking redress.

ECOWAS noted that it has been following the unfolding events in Bamako with dismay and mounting concern, following the mutiny by a section of the military at the Kati Barracks on the outskirts of the capital city.

The disturbances sparked by elements within the armed forces are all the more reprehensible, coming amidst the on-going regional and international efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the rebellion in the north of the country, and a day after a special ministerial session of the AU Peace and Security Council on the matter ended in Bamako.

ECOWAS reminds the military of its responsibility under the Constitution, and reiterate its policy of “Zero Tolerance” for any attempt to obtain or maintain power by unconstitutional means.

The sub-regional group warned that it will “respond appropriately to any attempts to further disturb the precarious security situation.”