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Buhari urges ECOWAS leaders to pressure Mali on return to civilian rule

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In Accra, Ghana, GEJ with the Ecowas – Cedeao Mediation Team to brief the 59th Ordinary Session of The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the situation in the Republic of Mali. Photo/FACEBOOK/jonathangoodluck<br />

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on West African leaders to exert pressure on the military leadership in Mali to ensure that the transition process in the country is not aborted.

Buhari’s position is contained in his statement delivered at the 59th Ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.

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He spoke on the situation in Mali, which was recently suspended from the regional bloc due to a military coup.

He said: “At this Summit today, we are expected to review a number of important reports dealing with various issues of concerns to our organisation and people. In doing so, we must take realistic and practical decisions, which will positively impact our citizens.

“Some of those decisions necessarily will have to do with evolving political and security situations in our sub-region as well as evaluate the health of our organisation with the hope of repositioning to serve our people and sub-region better.

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“While democracy continues to develop in our sub-region, recent events in Mali are sad reminders that vigilance remains a crucial imperative to protect people’s aspirations to freely choose the form of government they want.

“Pressures are needed to ensure that the transition process in Mali, which is halfway to its conclusion, is not aborted.

“A further slide in Mali could prove catastrophic to the Sub-region, considering that about half of that country is unfortunately under the grip of terrorists.”

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Buhari, therefore, appealed to the military leadership in Mali to understand the critical state of their country, which he described as being clearly under siege.

Noting that the principal responsibility of the military is to protect and guarantee the sovereignty of the West African country, the President cautioned them not to perpetrate acts that would facilitate the destabilisation and destruction of Mali.

“I urge our organisation to remain engaged with all stakeholders in Mali through our astute mediator, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who, I congratulate warmly, for his untiring efforts thus far. I encourage him to sustain these efforts to ensure that the transition is completed as scheduled,” he said.

The statement by the Nigerian leader at the Summit also addressed other pertinent issues of concern in the organisation, including the ongoing institutional reforms in ECOWAS.

Declaring Nigeria’s unequivocal support to the reforms process, the President said he was looking forward to an ECOWAS that is “fit for purpose”, delivering services to the satisfaction of the community citizens.

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