Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria is determined to ensure a prompt return of democratic rule to Guinea after the recent military coup.
According to him, Nigeria wants 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.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states.
The meeting, held on Thursday in Accra, Ghana, was focused on the political situation in the Republics of Guinea and Mali.
In a communique issued at the end of the extraordinary summit, ECOWAS leaders resolved to freeze the financial assets of members of the military junta and place a travel ban on them.
They are also demanding that the junta return Guinea to constitutional rule within six months.
At the last summit of ECOWAS leaders which held virtually on Sept. 8, Nigeria, also represented by the vice president, condemned the coup de‘tat in Guinea, calling 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 on unconditional release of President Condé and called for more pressure to be put on the country’s military leaders to return the nation to democratic rule.
“It is also important that ECOWAS should simply insist that there should be an immediate return to civil rule.
“We must make sure that sanctions by ECOWAS achieve the intended objectives.”
He called for the need to engage global bodies and Africa’s development partners in taking steps to prevent such unconstitutional change of government in countries on the continent.
“I this connection, I think we should engage all well-meaning stakeholders including the AU, EU, UN, 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.”
He reaffirmed Nigeria’s demand for unconditional release of President Conde and respect for his physical integrity.
Osinbajo urged leaders in the sub-region to also insist on a civilian-led transition.
He said that though the military junta in Guinea had started consultation with critical stakeholders towards transitioning the country Nigeria maintained its stance in condemning military intervention.
“To transparently restore constitutional order without delay,” and that such a process should be led by a civilian.
“While we condemn the development in Guinea, and affirm that no matter how popular the grievance against an elected leadership may be, the forceful seizure of power is an unacceptable assault on the dignity of a free people and their right to freely elect their leaders.
“We nevertheless must strongly urge all ECOWAS Member States to respect the principles of democracy and the constitutions of our respective countries.”
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,” he said.
He assured that Nigeria would continue to closely monitor the situation in Guinea and pledged the country’s support in ensuring that only democratic processes are adopted in changing governments in the sub-region.
Another key aspect of the communique was to to impose sanctions, in accordance with extant ECOWAS Protocols, of travel bans on the members of the CNRD, the Guinean military junta) and their family members and to freeze their financial assets.
ECOWAS will also assist Guinea in the swift resolution of the crisis and in the preparations for the elections.
The extraordinary session was chaired by President of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS, Nana Addo Akufo-Addo.
Aside from the Vice President, the session was also attended by eight Presidents and four Foreign Affairs Ministers representing heads of State.
Former Nigerian President and ECOWAS Mediator on Mali, Jonathan, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa, among others attended the meeting.(NAN)