President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said that the involvement of military in whatever guise is an aberration that has no place in managing the business of government.
President Buhari also said that the action of the military in Mali runs counter to the letter and spirit of ECOWAS Protocol on good governance and democracy in which unconstitutional change of governments is prohibited..
Consequently, the Nigeria President has called for the closure of borders as canvassed by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, as the first line of action and that everything should be done to create and sustain sufficient pressures on the military to force a return to constitutional governance.
He also called for the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and a return to constitutional order in the country, even as he noted that removal of the Malian leader could spiral into more crises with devastating consequences for the West African sub-region.
President Buhari stated this in what he entitled “Intervention Statement” at the virtual meeting of the ECOWAS Extraordinary Session on the situation in Mali which he participated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He expressed dismay over the political turmoil that resulted to the mutiny in Mali as the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government meet to discuss the turn of events which commenced on Tuesday, where President Keita, his Prime Minister and senior members of his government were arrested, resulting in the forceful resignation of the President as well as the dissolution of the Parliament. Both acts are illegal and stand condemned.
According to him, “Indeed, it saddens me greatly as we meet today to discuss the turn of events in Mali, which commenced on Tuesday this week, where President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, his Prime Minister and senior members of his government were arrested, resulting in the forceful resignation of the President as well as the dissolution of the Parliament. Both acts are illegal and stand condemned.
“The action of the Military runs counter to the letter and spirit of ECOWAS Protocol on good governance and democracy in which unconstitutional change of governments is prohibited.
“The authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government should not allow this dastardly act to stand. Nigeria stands by the provisions of the Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy.
“Mali has been in political turmoil since the results of the Parliamentary elections were announced in March this year. ECOWAS interventions, through a series of efforts by Ministers, the Special Envoy and Chief Mediator and a group of Heads of State of our Organization as well as an Extraordinary Summit did not yield positive results.
“Today, Mali has not only descended into political chaos but also socio-economic and security disaster with potential tragic consequences to Mali and the sub-region.
“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 the 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.”
The President said Nigeria will continue to support the decisions of the ECOWAS.
He said, “The action of the military in Mali has regrettably hoisted 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.
In this context, therefore, Nigeria subscribes to the under-listed recommendations for action by our Organisation:
“President Keita and other detainees should be released unconditionally and with immediate effect.
“Furthermore, we strongly support the efforts of our Chairman, President Mahamadou Issoufou, for wider, regional and continental consultations with ECOWAS, AU and UN in adopting strong measures to promoting early restoration of constitutional order, peace and stability in Mali.
“Military involvement in governance, in whatever guise, is an aberration that has no place in managing the business of government that suspends the Constitution and with it, democratic institutions. It is time for the unconstitutional “authority” in Mali to act responsibly and do the needful by heeding to the above recommendations.
“A politically stable Mali is paramount and crucial to the stability of the sub-region. 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.”
President Buhari expressed condolences to President Mahamadou Issoufou on the tragic Jihadist attack in his country earlier this month and also commended him, as chair of the organisation for the efforts he has made to Mali’s political situation since the results of the parliamentary elections were announced in March.
He also lauded him for convening the Extraordinary Session of the Organization to discuss and find solutions to the disturbing political situation in that country.