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ECOWAS suspends Guinea as Osinbajo urges decisive steps against coups

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Yemi Osinbajo

Following Sunday’s ouster of President Alpha Conde by the Colonel Mamady Doumbouya-led Special Forces, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Guinea’s membership of the sub-regional bloc.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Alpha Barry, who communicated the decision to the media in Ouagadougou after a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on the political developments in Guinea and Mali, added that the bloc demanded Conde’s immediate release from military custody and has sent a high-level delegation to the troubled nation.

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“At the end of that mission, ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position,” he said.

The sub-regional leaders also ordered the prompt restoration of constitutional rule in the West African country.

The resolution came after the putsch sparked diplomatic condemnation, even though it was celebrated in parts of Conakry, where residents took to the streets to appreciate soldiers’ insight.

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The 83-year-old Conde, who became the first democratically elected president in 2010, was re-elected in 2015. Last year, however, he tinkered with the constitution to run for a third term, a move his opponents termed illegal.

The suspension was despite Doumbouya’s release of 80 political prisoners and pledged to install a unified and transitional government.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, who finished runner-up in three successive elections, on Tuesday, said he was open to a transition to constitutional governance.

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Since the coup, life in the streets of Conakry appears to have returned to normal, with some military checkpoints dismantled.

VICE President Yemi Osinbajo appealed to the sub-regional organisation to take proactive steps against unconstitutional seizure of power, stating that such venture has no place in the 21st Century.

He made the call at the gathering, where he represented President Muhammad Buhari.

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Stating Nigeria’s position on the unfortunate incident, he said: “I join all well-meaning global leaders to express in the strongest terms the condemnation of Nigeria of this unconstitutional change of government, a development that could seriously destabilise the Republic of Guinea.

“What happened in Guinea is a brazen disregard for the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly state that every accession to power must be made through the free, fair and transparent election.”

According to Osinbajo, “the unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable,” noting that, “four coups within the last few months are a dangerous trend indeed in the sub-region.”

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