Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) to sustain sufficient pressures on the Malian military to force a return to constitutional governance.
Buhari stated this while speaking at a virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Session on the Situation in Mali in Abuja, yesterday.
He described the military intervention as setback for regional diplomacy.
The president also joined ECOWAS Heads of State and governments in calling for the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and a return to constitutional order in the country.
“I am pleased that ECOWAS, EU, UN and France issued strongly worded statements against the action of the Malian military. The events in Mali are great setbacks for regional diplomacy which have grave consequences for peace and security of West Africa. I am pleased therefore, that this Extraordinary Summit, holding to discuss pathways to the debacle we face today in Mali, is most timely and appropriate.
“The closure of borders already called for by ECOWAS should be our first line of action. We need to isolate series of sanctions-regimes that can create and sustain sufficient pressures on the military to force a return to constitutional governance. The critical issues for resolution in the Malian crisis had been aptly captured as the four-point pathways to peace. Within that context, and if all parties to the crisis were to abide by those recommendations, the developments now on ground would have been avoided.
“ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN should not stand by, while the situation deteriorates. Thus far, their strong statements of condemnation are sincerely appreciated and I urge them to continue to walk this route together with us until sanity returns to Mali with the restoration of Civil Administration,” he noted.
The president said he was sad by the development, insisting that the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, his prime minister and senior members of his government which resulted in the forceful resignation of the president as well as the dissolution of the parliament are illegal and stand condemned.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari promised that Nigeria would continue to support the decisions of ECOWAS.
“The action of the military in Mali has regrettably foisted on us as a sub-region, the need to decide the options that will be consistent with the provisions of the Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, which ECOWAS, AU, and the UN subscribe to.”