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Buhari urges ECOWAS to take proactive steps to prevent coups in sub-region

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take proactive steps aimed at preventing coups in the sub-region.

According to a statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the vice president said this on Wednesday at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states, where he represented President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari said that the unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form “is simply unacceptable and has no place in the 21st century.”

The meeting revolved around the political developments in the republics of Guinea and Mali where juntas have taken over power.

The meeting, attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders and representatives from the United Nations, was convened after Guinean President Alpha Conde was ousted via a coup d’etat in the West African country on Sept. 5.

This culminated in his arrest and detention by the country’s military, the dissolution of the Guinean government, suspension of the country’s constitution.

Buhari joined other global leaders in condemning the coup in Guinea, saying: “I join all well-meaning global leaders to express, in the strongest terms, the condemnation of the government 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 the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly states that every accession to power must be made through free, fair, and transparent election.

“The unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable – four coups within the past few months is a dangerous trend indeed.”

Buhari presented an idea which the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo later described as “a proposal of great weight.”

According to the Nigerian leader, the region is sliding back to the infamous 1960s.

He said, “Our zero-tolerance for coups is important but clearly insufficient. Are there further steps that we can take to prevent coups?

“Could we, for example, work out an understanding with the UN, AU, the Commonwealth, and possibly, even the development finance institutions we are a part of, to act in unison to suspend a country where there has been a seizure of power from all these bodies simultaneously?”

Buhari said it was important for countries in the sub-region to respect the provisions against the unconstitutional accession to power and apply it in all instances.

He, therefore, called on the ECOWAS authority of heads of state and government to invoke the provisions of Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance immediately by suspending Guinea from all of the bloc’s decision-making bodies and statutory meetings.

“We should also take any other necessary punitive measures that will ensure that the junta does not overstay in power.

“We must forestall a repeat of military interventions and the instability it engenders in the West African sub-region.

“In this connection, Nigeria wishes to once again urge all to always respect the principles of democracy and the constitutions of your respective countries.”

He urged the ECOWAS Commission to immediately appoint a mediator to lead the region’s genuine engagement with the military junta, all political actors, and civil society groups in Guinea towards finding a lasting solution that will return the country to democratic rule as soon as possible.

He added that ECOWAS must use its regional mechanisms efficiently to engage the military junta and if necessary, provide support for them to return the country to normalcy and democratic rule.

Osinbajo listed other steps to be taken in finding a lasting solution to the unfortunate development in Guinea.

He said that the military junta should not only ensure the physical safety of President Condé and all those detained along with him but also ensure his immediate and unconditional release.

“The safety of lives and property of the people of Guinea must also be guaranteed.

“The military must draw up a timetable for a civilian-led transition and begin the process of exiting the Guinean political stage toward returning the country to constitutional order and civil rule,” the Nigerian leader said.

On the situation in Mali, Buhari commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in Mali.

“Let me reiterate the imperative for the Malian transitional government to strictly respect the electoral timetable unveiled on  April 15.

“I further call for the continued support and collaboration of all the major players in the country’s march towards a successful transition.

“Nigeria will continue to closely monitor the situations in Guinea and Mali as well as work with the ECOWAS Commission, the African Union, and other member states to facilitate the return of both countries to civil governance,” he said.

Buhari also commended the chairman of the ECOWAS authority of heads of state and government for convening the virtual summit. (NAN)

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Bin Laden’s Deputy Al-Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike

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A United States drone strike killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri at a hideout in Kabul, President Joe Biden said Monday, declaring that “justice had been delivered” to the families of the 9/11 attacks.

Zawahiri’s assassination is the biggest blow to Al-Qaeda since US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 and calls into question the Taliban’s promise not to harbour militant groups.

It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the US on a target in Afghanistan since Washington withdrew its forces from the country on August 31 last year, days after the Taliban swept back to power.

“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a sombre televised address, adding he hoped Zawahiri’s death would bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the US on September 11, 2001.

Zawahiri was believed to be the mastermind who steered Al-Qaeda’s operations — including the 9/11 attacks — as well as bin Laden’s personal doctor.

A senior administration official said the 71-year-old Egyptian was on the balcony of a three-storey house in the Afghan capital when targeted with two Hellfire missiles after dawn Sunday.

“We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony where he was ultimately struck,” the official said.

The house is in Sherpur, one of Kabul’s most affluent neighbourhoods, with several villas occupied by high-ranking Taliban officials and commanders.

The interior ministry previously denied reports of a drone strike circulating on social media, telling AFP a rocket struck “an empty house” in Kabul, causing no casualties.

Early Tuesday, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “aerial attack” was carried out.

“The nature of the incident was not revealed at first,” he said.

“The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones.”

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African Union Hails Landmark Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal

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The African Union on Saturday hailed a landmark deal between Ukraine and Russia that will allow Kyiv to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea and relieve a global food crisis.

Ukraine’s farms are a major source of grain for the world market, in particular in the Middle East and Africa, where food supplies are critically tight.

Cereal prices in the world’s poorest continent have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest.

“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomes the signing by Russia and Ukraine of agreements,” a statement said, praising Senegalese leader and AU chair Macky Sall “for having called for the urgent need for the resumption of cereals from Ukraine and Russia to global markets as made to President Vladimir Putin during a joint AU mission to Sochi” in early June.

Ukraine and Russia and two of the world’s largest grain producers.

But Ukrainian mines laid across the Black Sea to avert an amphibious assault, as well as Russian warships, have blocked exports from Ukraine, leaving up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain in danger of rotting in ports and silos.

Sall thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who oversaw the signing ceremony in Istanbul on Friday, as well as presidents Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
“This was the objective of the mission I led in Sochi on June 3,” Sall tweeted.

The International Rescue Committee, which helps people affected by humanitarian crises, also welcomed the accord, saying countries in East Africa relied “on Russia and Ukraine for over 90 percent of their wheat imports”.

“The lifting of these blockades will go some way in easing the extreme hunger that over 18 million people in East Africa are facing, with three million already facing catastrophic hunger conditions,” Shashwat Saraf, IRC’s East Africa emergency director, said.

AFP

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Boris Johnson Agrees To Resign As Prime Minister

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British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Thursday finally agreed to step down as Britain’s prime minister.

The Tory leader announced his resignation this afternoon at 10, Downing Street, London.

His agreement to step down comes after several weeks of intense calls for his resignation and a loss of party support, borne out of his mishandling of damaging scandals including parties held at Downing Street in defiance of coronavirus lockdowns and the appointment of Chris Pincher into his government despite knowing of past allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Mr Johnson announced.

“I have agreed with Graham Brady, the Chairman of our back bench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.”

More details soon

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