Nigeria has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to insist on a short transition programme that will usher in a new civilian government in that country.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated this while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states on the political situation in the Republics of Guinea and Mali, which held in Accra, Ghana, on Thursday.
According to the communique issued at the end of the extraordinary summit, ECOWAS leaders have resolved to freeze the financial assets of members of the military junta, place a travel ban on them, while also demanding that the junta return Guinea to constitutional rule within six months.
At the last summit of ECOWAS leaders, which held virtually on September 8, Nigeria condemned the coup de‘tat in Guinea and called for an unconditional release of President Alpha Conde, and for stringent measures on Guinea’s military junta.
Speaking at the Accra summit, Osinbajo restated Nigeria’s position, urging for the unconditional release of Condé and called for more pressure to be put on the country’s military leaders to return the nation to democratic rule.
The Vice President restated the call to engage global bodies and Africa’s development partners in taking steps to prevent such unconstitutional change of government in countries on the continent.
He said: “In this connection, I think we should engage all well-meaning stakeholders including the Africa Union, European Union, United Nations, developmental partners, and financial institutions to join in taking more stringent measures by imposing travel bans and freezing of offshore financial assets of the coupists and their collaborators to ensure that they do return the country to democracy immediately.”
While he noted that although the military junta in Guinea had started consultation with critical stakeholders towards transitioning the country to civil rule, the Vice President reiterated Nigeria’s stance, condemning military intervention and unconstitutional change of government in the West African country.
The VP, therefore, called on the junta “to transparently restore constitutional order without delay,” and that “such a process should be led by a civilian.
On the update of the situation in Mali, Osinbajo again commended former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan “for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in Mali.”
He commended the efforts of stakeholders in resolving the situation in Mali and restated the call of leaders of the sub-region to the Malian transition government to strictly respect and follow the electoral time table for transition to civil rule.
“I further call for the continued support and collaboration of all major players in the country’s March towards a successful transition,” the VP stated.
Aside from the Vice President, the session was also attended by eight Presidents and 4 Foreign Affairs Ministers representing heads of State, former Nigerian President and ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan; the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, among others.