AUTHORITY of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has told the new military junta in the Republic of Mali that it has just one year to return the country to civilian rule.
This was one of the conditions given by the ECOWAS authority at the end of its second virtual extraordinary session on the socio-political situation in Mali.
Speaking during the session, President Muhmmadu Buhari emphasized the need for the country to go back to democracy, warning that Mali could not afford to stand alone and charging the junta to be realistic by setting acceptable time table for return of democratic rule.
The President noted that the briefings so far received from the ECOWAS Special Envoy, former President Goodluck Jonathan, indicated that the regional body’s engagements with the new military leadership in Mali were yet to achieve the desired results in several key areas
&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;img src= »https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-1062×598.jpg » alt= » » width= »1062″ height= »598″ class= »alignnone size-medium wp-image-1208360 lazyload » srcset= »https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-1062×598.jpg 1062w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-640×360.jpg 640w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-320×180.jpg 320w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-281×158.jpg 281w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-562×316.jpg 562w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-531×299.jpg 531w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-487×274.jpg 487w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-974×548.jpg 974w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas-600×338.jpg 600w,https://guardian.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/ecowas.jpg 1200w » sizes= »(max-width: 1062px) 100vw, 1062px » /
President Buhari, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said: “I am, however, personally happy to hear of the release from detention of the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is reported to be in good condition.
“The disposition of the new leadership to free the remaining senior officials is noted as this should contribute to the renewed sense of belonging to the Malian people.
“With regards to other areas being negotiated, Nigeria believes that the people of Mali and the military leaders need to appreciate the fragility of their country and the imminent danger which it poses to the citizens of Mali as well as the ECOWAS sub-region.”
The President added that the military leadership should be flexible in negotiations by putting the interest of all Malians and the harmony of the sub-region into consideration.
“For the people of Mali, specifically the leadership, embracing democracy and good governance is crucial to the country’s political stability. Mali cannot therefore afford to stand alone, hence the need to come to terms with the realities of an acceptable and workable transition compact that inspires the confidence of all Malians.
“Meanwhile, I urge the military leadership to consider the immediate release of all the remaining senior government officials in detention without pre-conditions; a transition process to be completed in not more than 12 months and which shall include the representatives of Malian stakeholders.
“This is a critical consideration for the new government to enjoy the cooperation and collaboration of regional and international community and to allow the easing of sanctions imposed on Mali.’’
President Buhari also emphasised the need for Mali’s Constitutional Court to work hand in hand with all the Malian stakeholders to ensure an early and hitch-free return to a democratic government through free, fair and inclusive election.
The President said: “In this connection, Nigeria will, alongside ECOWAS, provide necessary logistics support to facilitate the conduct of elections to re-establish democratic governance in Mali.
“As I conclude this intervention, let me thank, once again, the Mediator, Dr Jonathan, as well as my colleagues in the sub-region who have continued to demonstrate sincere commitment to the resolution of this crisis. Nigeria stands in solidarity with the good people of Mali.’’
By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja / The Nation