Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, called for stronger support from the European Union in condemning and imposing weighty sanctions on countries that engaged in unconstitutional change of government.
This is as he said the sanctions should also apply to leaders who manipulated the constitution to extend their term limit.
Buhari, while contributing to the roundtable discussion on Peace, Security and Governance at the ongoing 6th EU-AU Summit, stressed the need to nip the root causes of extremism, conflicts and tensions in Africa in the bud.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Friday titled, ‘At EU-AU summit, President Buhari calls for weighty sanctions for unconstitutional leadership changes in Africa.’
The President also called on European leaders as partners in promoting democracy and good governance to lend their weight behind measures put in place by the African Union to stem the tide of unconstitutional leadership changes rearing its head again on the continent.
He said, “Africa has continued to witness different waves of violent extremism, community-based conflicts and inter-ethnic tensions, notably in rural areas. Our continent has been deprived of political stability and socio-economic development for many decades due to terrorism and violent extremism.
“More worrisome is the current state of democracy on the continent, which has become a great source of concern to many of us, with increasing cases of unconstitutional change of governments across the continent, particularly in West Africa. This is in addition to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The African Union has often responded to these challenges through its different structures, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture. Through enhanced collaboration with our development partners, especially the European Union, we can identify areas of cooperation for quick and substantive results.’’
“As leaders and policymakers, it is important for our partnership to place priority on tackling the root causes of conflicts in Africa, as well as taking measures in safeguarding peace and security if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063.
“We also call for stronger support from the European Union in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments, as well as manipulation of constitutions in favour of extension of term limits,” he said.
The President added that it was imperative to ensure that election processes in Africa had outcomes that truly reflected the electorate’s wishes, as to go contrary to these is courting instability.
Buhari also called for the concretisation and transformation of promises of cooperation made by the European leaders to actions.
“We invite the EU to upscale its support for the G5 Sahel and the Multinational Joint TaskForce in the Lake Chad Region as we strive to degrade further the Boko Haram insurgents and their Islamic State in the West Africa Province counterparts,’’ he stated.