ECOWAS Court Dismisses Application To Stop Nnamdi Kanu’s Suit Against FG

The ECOWAS court sitting in Abuja, has dismissed an application filed by the Federal Government seeking to quash a suit filed by the self-styled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

The suit by the IPOB leader is seeking his unconditional release and 800 million U.S dollars in damages.

The Federal Government in its application had asked the court to dismiss the case because it is a subject matter before the Federal High Court and the Appeal court and as such, it constitutes an abuse of court process.

Presiding judge, Justice Micah Wright-Williams, in his ruling, however dismissed the application for lacking in merit, because according to him, the ECOWAS court has the jurisdiction to hear cases of infringement of human rights.


Source: Channels TV

Lasun rebukes ECOWAS for downplaying Nigeria’s role in The Gambia

The First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Yusuf Sulaiman Lasun, yesterday, angrily left a session of the parliament, in protest against what he described as lack of appreciation of Nigeria’s huge role in the body.

Lasun’s action was provoked by the statement of a Senegalese member of parliament (MP), Ibrahima Baba Sall, who ranked the contributions of his country in resolving the Gambian crisis above that of Nigeria.

Expressing his displeasure, Lasun told the parliamentarians that Nigeria’s famed ‘big brother’ role in the continent may be reviewed, if it is not properly recognised.

He advised the commission to visit the Acting President and write a letter wishing Buhari quick recovery.

While speaking to newsmen after he left the session, Lasun, lamented the disdain meted out to Nigeria despite funding ECOWAS by about 80 per cent. “If our leaders and Nigeria are not being accorded proper recognition, why are we here then?”

United ECOWAS, AU can salvage Africa – UN chief Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says ECOWAS intervention in The Gambia shows that a united ECOWAS and AU can take firm decisions against undemocratic forces and promote the freedom of the people on the continent.

Guterres, who made the remarks at a press briefing at the UN Headquarters on Wednesday in New York, commended the region for its contributions to promoting peace and security.

“What the Gambia episode has demonstrated is that when the neighbours of a country are together, when the sub-regional African organisation is united and the African Union is united, then it is possible for it also to decide.

“It is possible for action to be taken and for democracy, human rights and the freedom of the people to be defended.

“When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the UN to be able to act accordingly.

“I think we made an enormous progress in creating the conditions for a much more effective cooperation with the different African entities and the UN in addressing some of the most complex crises that we face.”

Guterres explained that his participation at the just concluded AU Summit was successful, saying that the objective of the UN and the AU was achieved.

According to him, his objective was to establish a higher platform of cooperation between the two organisations in relation to the sustainable of the African continent.

He added that establishing a higher platform in relation to the AU and UN cooperation in peace and security in so many areas of concern on the African continent was also his other objective at the summit.

The UN chief noted the unfortunate South Sudan crisis, saying that something urgent must be done to halt it and reverse the country to the road to peace.

He regretted that as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, his first mission was to go to Uganda to celebrate World Refuge Day with South Sudanese refugees in that country years back.

According to him, the 500,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda then went back home when the country was created with a lot of hope inspired in them.

“You can imagine now how tragic it is in South Sudan.

“And so one of my objectives was to try to establish a strong mechanism of cooperation between sub-regional organisations – African Union, IGAD and the UN.

“This is in order to be able to do everything possible to avert the worst in South Sudan and to bring the South Sudanese situation into a better track for peace.”

According to him, he had a Summit meeting with AU and Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on South Sudan.

“The summit agreed to work together to ensure the national dialogue that would be launched in South Sudan is truly inclusive, including all the key elements of the position.

“Ex-President Conare of Chad, the African Union mediator was fully empowered to launch a mediation process with total support of the UN, in close relationship with IGAD to monitor the peace process to ensure the dialogue is truly inclusive.

“In meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that there will be better cooperation both for the UN peacekeeping force to operate freely in South Sudan and for the regional protection force to be put in place,” he said.

Guterres also said that an agreement was reached with Kenya for the country and other key neighbours to work together with the same objective and voice on South Sudan.

“This is to try to create a condition to avoid what could be a dramatic situation on ground and to put on track a peace process aiming at giving future hope to the South Sudan,” he said.


Source: NAN

Committee Commends ECOWAS For Restoring Democracy In Gambia

The Committee For The Protection Of Peoples Mandate (CPPM), has commended the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) for what they say is a restoration of Democracy in The Gambia.


The committee revealed this in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman, Nelson Ekujumi, titled: “Kudos To Ecowas For The Restoration Of Democracy In Gambia”.


It reads:


“The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) whole heartedly congratulates and commends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its steadfastness and faithfulness to the sanctity of the democratic mandate of the people of Gambia as entrusted in President Adama Barrow by ensuring that ex-President Yahya Jammeh quits office involuntarily.


“We equally commend the good people of Gambia for their perseverance despite the provocative comments and actions of ex dictator Yahya Jammeh and his cronies to hang on to power by assaulting the constitution and the democratic rights of Gambians as freely expressed at the polls on December 1, 2016.


“As we rejoice with the people of Gambia over the restoration of democracy and the aversion of a needless crisis that would have been generated by the crudity of ex dictator Yahya Jammeh to cling on to power unconstitutionally and against decency and civilized conduct, may we admonish Gambians to remain faithful to democracy as the only legitimate means of determining who rules them.


“We congratulate President Adama Barrow for his tenacity in keeping faith with the mandate of the Gambian people and urge him to repay all the sacrifices put in place and endured to reclaim his mandate, both locally and internationally by ensuring the delivery of dividends of democracy to the populace.


“We view this action of ECOWAS in restoring democracy to Gambia by chasing out expired despot Yahya Jammeh as highly commendable, a victory for democracy and an unambiguous message to other despots on the African continent that the time of reckoning for assaulting the people’s right to freely choose their leader, is over.


“We are very hopeful that the laudable action of ECOWAS in Gambia would be a wake-up call to the electorates in Africa to boldly take their destiny in their thumbs to vote out despots who have underdeveloped, mismanaged and caused strife and crisis on the African continent.


“Once again, we wish President Adama Barrow and the good people of Gambia, a successful and fruitful tenure to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind.” the statement said.

ECOWAS, AU, UN to ensure Jammeh’s liberty to return to Gambia when he chooses

The ECOWAS, African Union and UN have said they would work with the new Gambian government to ensure that former President Yahya Jammeh was at liberty to return to the country when he wanted.

The former president left Banjul on Saturday to go into exile after he was pressurised by the ECOWAS to rescind his earlier decision not to accept the outcome of Dec. 1 presidential election, which saw him losing to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow.

Mr. Jammeh’s return would be in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen and a former head of state, they stated in a joint declaration in Banjul.

They commended the “goodwill and statesmanship” of the former president for facilitating “an immediate peaceful and orderly transition process and transfer of power to President Adama Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution”.

They also commended him for his interest in the Gambian people and preserving the peace, stability and security in the country.

The declaration stated that Mr. Jammeh’s departure from The Gambia on Saturday was temporary adding that it was in order to assist a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of a new government.

The blocs noted that his leaving was without any prejudice to his rights as a citizen, a former president and a political party leader.

They further assured that host countries that would offer “African hospitality” to the former president and his family do not become undue targets of harassment, intimidation and all other pressures and sanctions.

They also committed to work with the current government to prevent the seizure of assets and property lawfully belonging to Mr. Jammeh or his family and those of his cabinet members, government officials and party supporters.

“Further, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it fully guarantees, assures and ensures the dignity, security, safety and rights of former President Jammeh’s immediate family, cabinet members, government officials, Security Officials and party supporters and loyalists.

“ECOWAS, the AU and the UN urge the Government of The Gambia to take all necessary measures to assure and ensure that there is no intimidation, harassment and/or witch-hunting of former regime members and supporters, in conformity with the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia,” they stated.

The regional organisations said they would work with the government on national reconciliation to “avoid any recriminations”.

They also assured that they would take all measures to support the maintenance of the integrity of the security forces and guard against all measures that would create division and a breakdown of order.

“Pursuant to this declaration, ECOWAS will halt any military operations in The Gambia and will continue to pursue peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.”

Meanwhile, President Adama Barrow has said he would return to The Gambia on Monday.

Mr. Barrow confirmed this on his twitter handle, @adama_barrow, on Sunday.

He said: “I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia tomorrow. #Gambia.”

Mr. Barrow, who took the oath of office in the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on Thursday, has assured citizens who fled that “they now have the liberty to return home”.

He succeeded Yahya Jammeh, who lost in the Dec. 1 presidential election and refused to vacate office when his 22-year rule expired midnight on Thursday.


Source: NAN

Gambia: Jammeh given till midday to go as troops close in.

West African leaders have given Yahya Jammeh until midday on Friday to cede power after regional troops crossed the border in support of his democratically elected successor.

Marcel Alain de Souza, chairman of the west African union Ecowas, said the troops will force Jammeh out if he refuses to leave the country.

The west African troops entered the Gambia on Thursday night, hours after Adama Barrow was forced to hold his inauguration as president in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. De Souza said the west African force, which includes tanks, has so far met no resistance.

A delegation of west African leaders – including the presidents of Liberia, Mauritania and Guinea – are expected to arrive in Gambia on Friday as part of a final mediation mission, Gambian state television said.

Holding a Qur’an and looking solemn, Barrow was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, where he has spent the past few days, and delivered his inaugural speech as president. “This is a day no Gambian will ever forget,” he told a crowd of officials and diplomats. “This is the first time since the Gambia became independent in 1965 that the Gambia has changed the government through the ballot box.”

Jammeh, who ruled the west African state for 22 years and tried to extend his tenure despite losing to Barrow, is still in State House in the capital and is attempting to make a last-minute deal to ease his way out, according to sources close to the government. Earlier this week, he imposed a state of emergency in a final attempt to hang on to power.

Nevertheless, celebrations in the Gambia began as soon as Barrow had made his speech, with drivers beeping their horns in elation and people leaning out of car windows, waving their arms, in scenes reminiscent of the outpouring of joy after the election result was announced. Jammeh rejected it a short time later.

Significantly, Barrow called on the UN to enforce his electoral win. “I hereby make a special appeal to Ecowas, AU [African Union] and the UN, particularly the security council, to support the government and people of the Gambia in enforcing their will, restore their sovereignty and constitutional legitimacy,” he said.

Soon after Barrow’s speech, the UN security council unanimously backed a resolution that called “upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organisation to cooperate with President Barrow in his efforts to realise the transition of power” – a statement that lent weight to Barrow but stopped short of explicitly sanctioning military intervention.

When the president of Mauritania arrived in the country on a final mediation mission on Wednesday night, Jammeh demanded that Barrow’s inauguration be delayed and that he be allowed to return to his farm in the Gambia, according to diplomatic sources. The sources also said Jammeh asked that Ecowas, the regional body that has been leading negotiations for the past month, be replaced as a mediator.

However, it is highly unlikely that Jammeh will be allowed any of these concessions except a safe haven. One senior member of the coalition told the Guardian last month that Jammeh had “bunkers and treasure” at the farm and would start an insurgency if he were allowed to go back.

Barrow offered an olive branch to the country’s military, which has changed its allegiance several times over the past month, with the chief of defence staff saying most recently that as Jammeh paid his salary, he answered to him. “I call on all civilian and military personnel of the state to support my presidency, since it is built on a constitutional foundation,” Barrow said. “They are assured that they will not be subjected to any injustice or discrimination but will be provided with better working conditions and terms of service.”

Halifa Sallah, the spokesman for Barrow’s coalition, said he expected Jammeh to change his defiant position when he saw that the military were no longer with him, which he thought would happen imminently. “Once the international community recognises Barrow, Jammeh will realise that he does not have legitimacy, and governability is also an impossibility, so he may decide to leave,” he said.

The Nigerian foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was involved in mediation efforts, said: “There’s a bottom line. There’s a new president. He has to leave power. Ecowas is ready to take steps to ensure that the elected president is able to assume his mandate. The new president will have his say. He might not want necessarily to ride into Banjul on the tank of a foreign country.”

Ghana sends 205 soldiers to The Gambia as part of ECOWAS regional force

Ghana’s new president has announced he is sending 205 soldiers to The Gambia as part of a regional force to enforce the result of the country’s disputed election.


Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement late Wednesday that he had “approved and authorised the deployment of a combat team of 205 troops, backed with the appropriate logistical equipment”.


Nigeria on Thursday said it was contributing 200 soldiers and air assets, including fighter jets, to the regional force while Senegal, The Gambia’s neighbour, said its troops were “on alert”.


But Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a coup two decades ago, has refused to recognise the result, launched a legal challenge and declared a state of emergency.

UPDATE: Senegal troops move in on Gambia

Senegalese troops have been seen moving towards the Gambian border in a show of force to pressure President Yahya Jammeh to stand down, according to BBC.

Senegal gave Jammeh a midnight GMT deadline to quit and Nigeria has sent an air force contingent to Senegal in support of the possible intervention.

Wednesday was meant to be Jammeh’s last day in office but parliament extended his tenure by three months.

This stops the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow, who is currently in Senegal.

Thousands have fled Gambia because of the political crisis.

The African Union (AU) says it will cease to recognise Jammeh from Thursday, while ECOWAS has vowed to remove him from office.

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s newest warship, the NNS Unity, sailed towards Gambia, while fighter jets and troops also headed to Senegal ahead of possible military intervention.

The Gambia’s tiny army is no match for the regional powers. In recent years, Jammeh has been promoting his loyalists, including army chief Ousman Badjie, to ranks beyond their competence.

This has further downgraded its military capabilities.


Source: The Cable

Nigerian Warship And Troops Head For Gambia To Sack Yahya Jammeh

Nigeria soldiers will, on Wednesday (today), arrive at a base of the Economic Community of West African States troops in Senegal to ensure that President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia steps down on Thursday, January 19.

Nigerian warship, NNS UNITY, is also heading for the coast of The Gambia to join the operation.

The PUNCH learnt from a top military source in the Nigerian Air Force that the troops would be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in the early hours of Wednesday, before leaving for Senegal.

It was gathered that apart from the NAF and the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army would also contribute troops, although the number of deployment could not yet be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.

The source said some of the NAF fighter jets were expected to airlift the troops.

He said, “I can confirm to you that men of the Air Force will leave for Senegal tomorrow (Wednesday). They will be briefed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Kainji base in Niger State.

“That Nigeria is deploying troops is now a certainty after several meetings with The Gambian president yielded no result. The Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS countries came to Abuja on Saturday, where they discussed what components each member state is expected to contribute to the troops that will force Yahya Jammeh out.

“The troops are expected to stay for two weeks and they will be received at a base in Senegal.”

Another military source added, “The NNS Unity is currently sailing off the coast of Ghana, after leaving from Lagos. It is not only Nigeria. Senegal is the host country for the troops, as it would be easy to launch an attack from there.”

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, however, said it could not confirm the deployments, adding that it was a matter being coordinated by political leaders.

The Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said, “We should not drag the Nigerian military into a political issue. What is happening is a political discussion between the ECOWAS leaders, aimed at solving a political impasse in one of its member states.

“Whatever they agreed to do is what will happen. Therefore, the military is not for any engagement regarding Jammeh or any other person for that matter.”

Adama Barrow of the opposition party won the December 1, 2016, presidential election but Jammeh, who initially conceded defeat by congratulating Barrow, made a U-turn a week later, saying he would challenge the results.

Despite interventions by the African Union and ECOWAS, Jammeh insisted he would not hand over power to Barrow.

This stance informed the decision of the leaders to withdraw their recognition for Jammeh as the Gambian president after Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jammeh, on Tuesday, declared a 90-day state of emergency 24 hours to the end of his tenure.

He warned security forces against violating the order or engaging in acts likely to cause a breach of the peace, and denounced “foreign interference in The Gambia’s election.”

The declaration of a state of emergency by the embattled President followed a rejection of his injunction to stop Barrow’s inauguration by the Gambian Chief Justice, Emmanuel Fagbenle, on Monday.

In a televised announcement on Tuesday, Jammeh said, “Any acts of disobedience to the laws of the Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace are banned under the state of emergency.”

He directed security forces to “maintain absolute peace, law and order.”

Barrow is currently in Senegal and due to security fears, he was unable to attend the funeral of his eight-year-old son, who died on Monday after a dog bite.


Source: Sahara Reporters

JUST IN: Nigerian, Senegalese troops on standby as President Buhari jets out to the Gambia

There is apprehension in The Gambia as the Information Ministry yesterday said President Yayah Jammeh would not step down when his mandate ends on January 18, in spite of his electoral defeat.

The autocrat, who ruled the small West African nation for 22 years, will remain in office until the Supreme Court decides on a petition filed by Jammeh. According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Jammeh is challenging the result of the December 1 presidential election. But the President-elect, Adama Barrow reiterated he was planning to take office on January 19, as scheduled.

Observers fear that the refusal of Jammeh to accept the outcome of the election, which is causing delays to the planned handover of power, could lead to violence that will cripple social and economic development of the country.The Gambia’s ‘current dysfunctional’ Supreme Court had adjourned hearing Jammeh’s petition till January 16 since only one of a required minimum of five judges was present.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will today jet out to Banjul, the capital of The Gambia and thereafter proceed to Bamako, the Malian capital to attend the 27th Africa-France summit holding from January 13 to 14, 2017.

In Banjul, President Buhari, as the mediator in The Gambia, is scheduled to meet with Jammeh and Barrow to continue dialogue on the political impasse in the West African country. Buhari will be joined by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government; President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone; and the immediate past President of Ghana, John Mahama, who is the co-meditator of The Gambian mission.

A statement from the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday said the Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence, convened by French President Francois Hollande is aimed at strengthening cooperation between France and African countries in the areas of peace and security, economic partnership and development.

Recognising the role played by France in the successes so far recorded in the implementation of the regional initiative against terrorism, President Buhari will reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to global efforts on the war against terror and underline the need for improved collaboration to address the menace of terrorism in the region.

It was learnt yesterday that the Nigerian Army had raised an army battalion that would be deployed in troubled The Gambia to forcefully remove Jammeh from power if he failed to step down on January 19.A report by an online publication, PREMIUM TIMES indicated that the battalion, christened ECOMOG NIBATT 1, was drawn from the Army’s 19th Battalion based in Okitipupa, Ondo State.

Personnel were also drawn from other formations and units across the country due to shortage of men at 19 Battalion which has a significant chunk of its troops deployed for internal security task force, Operation Delta Safe.

According to the report, the Army Headquarters has instructed the nominated officers and men, put at over 800, to immediately report at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, for a crashed course on counter-terrorism and counter insurgency.

The Army Headquarters has also instructed the directorates of policy and plans; finance; and logistics to get ready funds, arms, ammunition and other logistics for the operation. The Armoured Corps is also working hard to get ready armoured vehicles needed for the task, the online publication said, quoting official sources.

There were suggestions by some of the sources that the Nigerian Air Force and the Navy might deploy men and equipment for the operation as well.Top military officers said the Nigerian Battalion would be deployed in The Gambia anytime after January 19 if Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down after the expiration of his tenure.

“This is an emergency operation, but we are ready,” one officer said. “The Nigerian Army is a strong, professional fighting force battle ready at anytime. We are so well structured that we can deploy at the touch of a button.

“We did it in Liberia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere. And Jammeh should know that we are not a joking force. Once we get it all clear from ECOWAS, the AU and the UN to move in, we can pick him up.”

The regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had on December 23 put standby military forces on alert.The ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza, said Senegal, The Gambia’s only territorial neighbour, would lead any military operation in the country. Other West African countries will be mandated to provide troops as well, Mr. De Souza reportedly said.

However, at President Buhari’s meeting with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday on the prevailing insecurity in southern Kaduna, the Niger Delta and other parts of the countr, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Dan-Ali clarified that no conclusion had been reached on the issue of standby force to be deployed to The Gambia.

He added that the matter of forceful removal of Jammeh would be handled by ECOWAS.Jammeh lost the December 1, 2016 The Gambia presidential election to opposition candidate, Barrow. He initially accepted defeat and congratulated Barrow but changed his mind and decided to challenge the outcome of the election. He also vowed not to hand over to the winner as expected on January 19.


Source: Guardian

President Muhammadu Buhari heads to Gambia on ECOWAS mission

President Muhammadu Buhari is to visit Banjul, capital of The Gambia, on January 13 to mediate in the political crisis in the country.

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.

In Banjul, Buhari is scheduled to meet with President Yahya Jammeh and President-elect Adama Barrow.

The meeting is in continuation of dialogue on the political situation in the West African country.

Adesina said Buhari would be joined by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and chairperson of the Authority of ECOWAS heads of state and government, and President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone.

John Mahama, the immediate past president of Ghana, who is the co-meditator of The Gambian mission, will also join the ECOWAS leaders.

The statement said later on January 13, the president will travel to Bamako, Mali to participate in the 27th Africa–France Summit.

The summit for partnership, peace and emergence, convened by French President Francois Hollande, is aimed at strengthening cooperation between France and African countries in areas of peace and security, economic partnership and development.

He said Buhari would reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to global efforts on the war against terror and underline the need for improved collaboration to address the menace of terrorism in the region.

Adesina said Buhari would also use the opportunity of the summit to underscore the efforts his administration was making to improve Nigeria’s business environment to attract more foreign direct investment.

“The president will be accompanied by Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo, the ministers of foreign affairs, interior and defence,” Adesina said.

Jammeh suffers setback at supreme court, postpones ECOWAS visit

Yahaya Jammeh, president of Gambia, has suffered a setback in his bid to use the country’s supreme court to upturn the victory of Adama Barrow, his rival.

On Tuesday, the apex court postponed the hearing of the case for months, citing a lack of judges.

“We can only hear this matter when we have a full bench of the Supreme Court,” Emmanuel Fagbenle, the court’s chief justice, said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian judge said the extra judges needed to hear the case were not available.

The Gambia relies on foreign judges, notably from Nigeria, to staff its courts due to a lack of trained professionals in the tiny West African state.

Fagbenle added that he would prefer the country to resolve its political deadlock through the mediation underway by a group of West African leaders, who are attempting to persuade Jammeh to respect the constitution and step aside.

“This is why alternative dispute resolution is important,” he said.

“We are now only left with the ECOWAS mediation initiative and the inter-party committee set up by government to resolve the dispute.”

Jammeh’s political party lodged a legal case on his behalf last month aimed at annulling the December 1 poll result and triggering new elections.

Meanwhile, Jammeh has asked the high level ECOWAS mediation mission led by President Muhammadu Buhari not to come to Banjul, the Gambian capital, on Wednesday.

Jammeh had initially agreed to meet the continental leaders on Wednesday, but he now wants them to come on Friday.

Buhari, who is mediating alongside John Mahama, the immediate past president of Ghana, said the mandate of the ECOWAS would be accomplished.

We may resort to the use of force if Jammeh refuses to step down – ECOWAS Leaders

West African leaders announced they would return to The Gambia this week to try and persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step down, but said the use of force remains an option.

The mandate for Jammeh’s five-year term expires on January 18, after which president-elect Adama Barrow is supposed to take power.

But the strongman, in power for 22 years, has vowed to stay in office until a dispute over the election result is resolved, despite becoming increasingly isolated at home and abroad.

They will impress upon Jammeh “the imperative to respect the constitution”, Nigeria’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, told reporters in Abuja on Monday.

There are worries in The Gambia over worsening security, a potential refugee crisis and a media crackdown that has taken several radio stations off air.

And while Onyeama said a peaceful transfer of power was preferable, force could be used. “Violence should be avoided but nothing is ruled out,” he said.

The regional leaders made a previous attempt at mediation with both sides in the electoral dispute in mid-December, a couple of weeks after the poll, but failed to make a breakthrough.

In Banjul, Jammeh sacked his Information Minister Sheriff Bojang and replaced him with a National Assembly member who was appointed this month as the ruling party’s spokesman.

Bojang had previously managed The Standard Newspaper, which was closed in 2012 after criticising Jammeh’s regime. A statement carried on Gambian public television on Monday did not give a reason for his dismissal.

A foreign ministry source on Monday confirmed that Jammeh had also fired ambassadors to 12 nations, apparently for disloyalty.

All the envoys had expressed support for Barrow in late December, and asked Jammeh to step aside and respect the result of the December 1 vote, which delivered the opposition leader a narrow victory.

“I do not know why President Yahya Jammeh terminated their services, but I can tell you that these are the ambassadors that congratulated and endorsed President-elect Adama Barrow for his election victory,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

– Judge shortage? –
Authorities also refused to release from custody the former director-general of Gambia’s state television and radio broadcaster, despite a court decision to grant him bail.

Momodou Sabally was arrested on 8 November 2016 along with a colleague after broadcasting images of the opposition when Jammeh’s wife was due to appear, according to Human Rights Watch.

On Monday the Banjul High Court ruled that he should be bailed, but the National Intelligence Agency holding Sabally refused to comply when presented with the order, judicial staff told AFP.

Meanwhile it appeared increasingly clear there would not be the requisite number of judges Tuesday sitting for Jammeh’s Supreme Court case against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), where he is seeking to have the election result overturned.

Nigerian and Gambian legal experts told AFP that although five Nigerian judges and one from Sierra Leone had been invited to hear the case, none had responded.

The Gambia relies on foreign nationals as judges due to a shortage of nationals with the requisite training and experience.

Jammeh and his political party have now lodged three separate legal complaints with the Supreme Court alleging manipulation of ballot counting by the IEC and intimidation of supporters.

Gambian legal expert Aziz Bensouda said a quick resolution was unlikely and constitutionally Jammeh still had to step down by the end of his official term.

“In the absence of a court and the pure impossibility of the parties being served in time to appear and enter a response, it seems that an adjournment of the case will be the most likely outcome,” he said.

Jammeh’s own lawyer Edward Gomez told AFP earlier he did not know how many judges would appear on the day.

Chief Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle is the panel’s only sitting judge, as the Supreme Court has lain dormant since May 2015.

Tension and uncertainty has gripped the Gambian capital, with the US embassy sending non-essential staff and family members out of the country, as well as urging citizens not to travel there.

A statement issued Monday by the US ambassador described Tuesday’s court case as “a potential flashpoint that could lead to civil unrest.”

President Buhari to lead ECOWAS delegation to Gambia again.

President Muhammadu Buhari will lead a delegation of ?the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)? to The Gambia on Wednesday.

On December 19, Buhari led some continental leaders to Gambia to persuade President Yahaya Jammeh to step down.

Although he received the leaders, Jammeh refused to give them his commitment on handing over to Adama Barrow?, winner of the election.??

Two weeks after the meeting, Jammeh accused the regional body of declaring war on his country, and he vowed to resist any form of intimidation.

The Nigerian leader hosted ECOWAS leaders to a meeting in Abuja on Monday.

Those in attendance were presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Macky Sall (Senegal) and John Mahama, who until two days ago was the number one citizen in Ghana.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of the meeting, Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said after deliberating on the current state of affairs in The Gambia, they agreed to respect constitution of the country.

Onyeama said the leaders condemned the media clampdown by Jammeh’s administration.

“They agreed on the determination to resolve The Gambian political crisis in a manner that every step of the way conforms with the constitution of The Gambia and respect the will of the people,” he said.

“They expressed particular concern at the deteriorating situation that has been reported in respect of security in The Gambia in particular, the closure of some of the radio stations and media and house, arrest that have been taking place and also the refugee situation that is being created with the mass exodus of a large number of people to the interior and to neighbouring countries.

“In view of this, the meeting agreed that a certain number of presidents will visit in two days time, President Jammeh in The Gambia and that again will comprise the mediator President Buhari together with the President of Liberia and hopefully, the President of Sierra-Leon and the co-mediator the former President of Ghana (John Mahamma) as well as the president of the ECOWAS commission, the Special Representatives of United Nations and also a Representative of the African Union. So, this meeting will take place in two days time on Wednesday to discuss with President Jammeh the need the imperative the constitution.”

ECOWAS leaders have declared war on me, says Yahya Jammeh.

President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of declaring war against his country.

Jammeh, who has vowed to stay in power despite losing the December 1 election to rival Adama Barrow, promised to defend his country against any “outside aggression”.

The veteran leader initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him.

Last week, Marcel de Souza, commission president for ECOWAS, said the body had put standby forces on alert.

In his New Year speech broadcast on state TV, Jammeh decried “the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of  the election by whatever means possible”.

“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution,” he said.

“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression.

“My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians.”

Barrow’s surprise victory and Jammeh’s initial decision to concede after 22 years in power was initially seen as a moment of hope.

President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped in as an ECOWAS mediator to offer Jammeh an “honorable exit”, but Jammeh said the bloc could no longer fulfill that role.

Barrow assures Buhari, other ECOWAS leaders Jammeh won’t face prosecution

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh will not face prosecution on leaving office, a spokesman for the opposition coalition that backed president-elect Adama Barrow told AFP late Tuesday.

Jammeh led the Gambia for 22 years but conceded defeat in polls this month before reversing his position and claiming victory, bringing calls from the international community to accept the result and step down.

“ECOWAS wanted to know whether the incoming administration plans to prosecute outgoing President Yahya Jammeh,” spokesman Halifa Sallah said following talks with the Economic Community of West African States on the peaceful transfer of power.

“President-elect Barrow says he is going to treat outgoing President Yahya Jammeh like a former head of state and would consult him for advice,” Sallah added.

Also Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said the results of the December 1 polls were “indisputable” and that Barrow “must be installed as soon as possible”.

“The matter is non-negotiable,” Hollande said after a meeting in Paris with visiting Senegalese President Macky Sall, whose country nearly surrounds the Gambia.

Last week, ECOWAS said Jammeh must step down next month when his term runs out and vowed “to take all necessary action to enforce the results” of the poll, without spelling out what those measures might be.

Jammeh, who took power in a 1994 coup, initially warmly congratulated Barrow after results were declared.

But on December 9 he condemned “unacceptable errors” by election authorities and called for a new vote.

Gambia: ECOWAS Names Buhari ‘Chief Mediator’ Insists Jammeh Must Handover Power

All Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS member countries have resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on January 18, 2017, in conformity with the Gambian constitution.


According to a communiqué presented at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, the out-going President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the December 1 presidential election in the country and must guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect.


“The Authority calls on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-Elect,’’ the communiqué added.


The Authority also appointed President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively in the Gambian political impasse.


Climate change is driving millions to poverty in ECOWAS, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says climate change is driving millions of people in the Lake Chad Basin into poverty.

Buhari also said the poor regional integration and the climate change experienced in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is as a result of globalisation.

He said this while speaking at the 50th ordinary session of the ECOWAS summit of heads of state and government on Saturday.

He called for countries in ECOWAS to diversify their economies in the bid to improve on the region’s economy.

“Our modest achievements in regional integration are being challenged by globalization. Today, most of our countries continue to record low volume of trade, occasioned by declining level of economic activities, caused by the sharp fall in commodity prices,”Buhari said.

“While oil prices fell by an astounding 57 percent between June 2014 and January 2015, other commodity prices have also weakened sharply thereby putting pressure on the current account and fiscal balances of our countries.

“This ugly situation demands that we diversify our respective economies from commodities into other sectors such as banking, construction and telecommunications and most importantly agro–processing, manufacturing and services.  As we adjust to a more challenging globalized environment, stronger efforts are required to increase domestic revenue mobilisation in our countries and Community Institutions.

“Member States must diversify their economies away from trade in commodities towards developing robust infrastructure that will support manufacturing and industrialisation. To this end, I urge the Community to invest more in infrastructure and human resources so as to unleash the potentials that exist in our respective economies and in our peoples.

“Another adverse effect of globalization, which we needs to be confronted collectively, is climate change which is affecting our countries in many ways such as desertification, erosion, rise in sea level and flooding. This situation is further worsened by the near absence of response and adaptive capacities in our countries.

“The negative consequences of Climate Change, including the drying up of water bodies are real in the region. For example, Lake Chad, which was once one of Africa’s largest water reservoirs, has over the years shrank to less than 10 percent of its original size, drastically affecting livelihoods of millions of people living in the Basin.

“This has resulted in environmental degradation, poverty, under development and displacement of peoples.”

Buhari said conscious efforts should be made on governance and accountability.

“In addition, the cost of governance must be reduced across all ECOWAS Institutions while resources should be devoted to programs and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs  fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population,” he said.

Borno IDPs get ECOWAS $1.4m gift

The Economic Community of West African States has made a donation of $1.4m to the internally displaced persons in Borno State.

Also, the National Emergency Management Agency has given out building materials for the construction of houses destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents in the troubled state.


The West African regional economic body handed over the donation in two separate cheques of $1m and $0.4m to the Borno State Government with instructions that the funds should be used to procure relief materials for the IDPs.


Presenting the cheques on Sunday to the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the ECOWAS President, H.E. Marcel de Souza, said they were in Borno to share the feelings and concerns of the IDPs and refugees in Nigeria and pledged to do everything possible to support them.


The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi, who brought the ECOWAS boss to the Borno State Governor, also handed over foods and building materials, including 2600 bundles of roofing sheet, 2500 pieces of ceiling boards, 350 bags of 3 inches nails and 350 packets of zinc nails to assist the government in the ongoing effort of reconstructing houses in Bama, Hawul and Gamboru-Ngala communities destroyed by insurgency.


The other things presented by NEMA were 3,600 bags of rice, 1,400 bags of beans and 1,000 bags of millet.


Receiving the items, the Borno State Governor appreciated NEMA for the continued support to the IDPs and ECOWAS for the donations and assured them that the items would get to the beneficiaries.

Gambia refuses entry to ECOWAS head amid election dispute

Gambian authorities have refused entry to Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, the chair of regional body ECOWAS, Senegal’s foreign minister said on Saturday.

Such move is dampening hopes for a political solution after President Yahya Jammeh rejected the results of elections that he lost on December 1.

Jammeh on Friday called for another election in the tiny West African country after narrowly losing to opposition leader Adama Barrow. He had already conceded defeat publicly last week.

The announcement on state television threw Gambia’s future into doubt after the unexpected election result ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

The streets of Banjul were calm on Saturday, although some residents said they were staying at home for fear of violence.

Sirleaf had hoped to put back on track Gambia’s first democratic transition of power in over 50 years.

However, those plans appeared thwarted on Saturday when her plane was denied landing access at Banjul.

“Johnson Sirleaf was supposed to fly in today, but Jammeh said ‘not at the moment,” Senegal foreign minister Mankeur Ndiaye told media.

It was not clear if the plane had already taken off.

Sirleaf’s camp was not immediately available for comment.

A spokesman for Jammeh’s government could not be reached.

As Gambians brace for a tense standoff, international criticism of Jammeh’s claim came in fast.

Following the United States and Senegal, the African Union on Saturday weighed in, calling Jammeh’s statement “null and void”.

How Nigeria’s economic challenges affect West Africa – ECOWAS

The depreciation of the naira and other economic challenges affecting member states have slowed down ECOWAS economic integration and the adoption of a single currency, the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports.

This was one of the main issues discussed at the technical meeting of the ECOWAS Macroeconomic Policy Committee on Multilateral Surveillance in Abuja on Thursday.

The out-going Chairperson of the committee, Ommy Sar Ndaiye, said that it was pertinent for member states to develop strategies to address the prevailing economic challenges.

Ms. Ndaiye, however, noted that the commission had made progress in its macroeconomic policies.

“The depreciation in value of the naira and other economic factors in Nigeria are affecting ECOWAS.

“We all know that whatever happens in Nigeria weighs heavily on our economies.

“If there are challenges there, it would reflect on the region,” she said.

She urged the committee to make recommendations that would strengthen sub-regional economic integration and development that could also be implemented through the economic policies of member states.

The ECOWAS Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research, Mamadou Traore, said that the 2015 report on the macroeconomic convergence for the region showed a slowdown the growth of the economy compared to 2014.

Mr. Traore said the lack of raw materials, poor state of infrastructural development in member states and the depreciation in value of the naira contributed to the slow growth rate.

He said that that despite measures put in place by the commission, the ECOWAS economy “is still vulnerable to external shocks”.

He called on member countries to do in-depth analyses to determine the growth factors that made the sub-region vulnerable.

“Member states should get an update of implementation of the ECOWAS single currency programme.

“The deadline for the adoption of single currency is fast approaching; this committee should set an agenda to look into the progress made so far and identify challenges that may hinder its smooth operation.”

He urged member states to regularly update their databases on measures that drive economic growth in their countries.

The commissioner stated that the two-day meeting would review the 2015 report, evaluate and make recommendations that would drive the economies of member states.

He also said that the meeting would discuss the status of the implementation of the ECOWAS Common external Tariff.

NAN reports that ECOWAS has set 2020 to achieve the adoption of a single currency for the region.

ECOWAS must eradicate piracy to enhance economic growth – Peterside.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has charged member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to eradicate the scourge of piracy in the sub-region in order to grow the economy.


Meanwhile, the Governing Board of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has approved the building of new zonal offices and a multi level car park at its head office using a Design, Build and Finance (DBF) model under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in its 2017 budget year.


The Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, at the delocalised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, said that the fight against piracy must be a collective responsibility of member states to be successful.


According to him, “The theme of this meeting, Maritime Security and the Fight Against Piracy: The Role of the ECOWAS Parliament in the Implementation of the Integrated Maritime Security Policy of ECOWAS could not have been more timely coming exactly one month after the signing of the Lome Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa by Heads of government in Africa under the auspices of the African Union”.


He observed that the adoption of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS) and the 2012 Yaoundé declaration of the Heads of States and Governments of Central and West African States on Maritime Safety and Security is a clear demonstration of the critical role of the ECOWAS parliament in ensuring safety and security of the sub region’s shipping and maritime transportation including the territorial waters and the seas.


The objectives of these two sub-regional instruments are in sync with the goals of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 which culminated into the signing of a Charter on Maritime security, safety and development in Africa on the 15th October, 2016.

While acknowledging that the ocean provides a unique opportunity to optimize the benefits of the blue economy and to provide special opportunities to tap into the benefits of nature, he urged the participants to engage in sensitizing member countries on a harmonized legal framework that will ensure safe, secure shipping and cleaner oceans in the ECOWAS sub-region.


“Our economies are unfortunately tied to the prospects of the ocean; the ocean is the medium for which most of our trade and transactions are conducted, the ocean also provides a unique opportunity for us to optimize the benefits of the blue economy and a special opportunity for us to tap into the benefits of nature,” Peterside observed.


However, the Board of NIMASA has given nod to the construction of new office complexes for the Central Zone in Warri, the Eastern Zone in Port Harcourt, Onne Port Office as well as a multi-level car park at the agency’s head office in Lagos.


The construction of new office complexes for the zones, according to a statement from its spokesperson, Hajia Lami Tumaka, is in line with the restructuring programme of the agency, which plans to devolve more powers to the operational offices to enhance efficiency, productivity and revenue generation.


Currently, the zonal offices are challenged by inadequate office accommodation while there is an urgent need to construct a multi level car park at the agency’s head office in Apapa to ease the parking challenges of staff.


Under the DBF model, Tumaka said the Agency will only provide the land for the development, monitor the development to ensure conformity with quality and pay off the cost of construction in three to four years with a markup of six to 12 per cent as cost of fund while the developer will provide funding for the entire project, bear the stress of construction and deliver the project within a maximum period of 12 months.

Group Urges FG To Comply With ECOWAS Court Ruling On Dasuki

A Northern coalition of 14 human rights groups  on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, comply with the ruling of the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by releasing former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

Speaking with journalists in Sokoto, the National Secretary of the Network for Justice and Human Rights Crusade,, Al-mustapha Abubakar Bello, said ignoring the ruling of the ECOWAS Court by the Federal Government would amount to impunity, abuse of due process and disregard for rule of law. 

“Since it is a government that believes in the rule of law, the federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari should adhere to the ruling of the ECOWAS Court.

“This competent court of law presided over by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke has ordered the immediate release of Dasuki on bail as stated in the judgement of October 4, 2016, with No: ECW/CCJ/JUD/23/16 of the SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/01/16,” Bello said.

According to him, the coalition lamented that having been granted bail by three different domestic courts, Dasuki is still in detention.

He said this was without respect for his fundamental human rights and personal liberty, which the present government preaches.

Credit: thisdaylive

Why Nigeria should totally ignore ECOWAS order for Dasuki’s release.

Jokes for days. Pure jokes. That’s what you’ll want to regard the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) court ruling ordering the Nigerian State to set free former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.

To make the joke even more of a rib cracking one, the ECOWAS court ruled that the Federal Government should pay N15m in damages to Dasuki.

To compensate a man who allegedly diverted $2.1bn earmarked for the purchase of ammunition with another N15m, is the stuff that stand up comedy shows are made of. It’s akin to rewarding the Fox for storming through the barn door and making away with the Hen.

To placate a man with N15m for allegedly ending the lives of hundreds in the war thorn North East, is sick comedy.

Sometimes, these jokes write themselves. And ECOWAS’ ruling should have been funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

The ruling is premised on the alleged arrest of Dasuki by the State without a search warrant.

Online Newspaper Premium Times, reported the ruling this way:

“On Tuesday, a three-member panel led by Justice Friday Nwoke said Nigeria’s government was wrong in arresting Mr. Dasuki without a search warrant, adding that the pattern of arrest negates the provisions of Section 28 of the Nigerian Police Act.

“According to the said section, a superior police officer may authorise the search of a resident belonging to a suspect assumed to be in illegal possession of an item, if the officer so authorised has a search warrant….According to the judge, the search warrant presented before the ECOWAS court was not certified and therefore lacks verifiable authenticity….”

Dasuki is being held for a slew of offences including illegal possession of firearms, corruption and money laundering. To negate all of these alleged crimes and set him free on account of a flawed search warrant will amount to a travesty of justice.

In the past, the Department of State Security (DSS) had said it did have a valid search warrant with it before storming the home of the erstwhile NSA last year.

How ECOWAS will declare that search warrant “uncertified and inauthentic,” should be the subject of another round of litigation and not a call for the outright freedom of the man.

It is also subject to debate if ECOWAS has the jurisdiction to rule in a case before Nigerian courts. Are we out-sourcing our judiciary now? Have we ceased being a sovereign state? Where does the jurisdiction of the Nigerian legal system end and that of ECOWAS begin?

There’s precedence to draw from here:

In May, 2016, IPOB (Independent People of Biafra) leader Nnamdi Kanu, who is being held for secessionist threat and gun-running among other offences, ran to the ECOWAS court as well in a last ditch attempt to evade justice.

In its preliminary objection, the Federal Ministry of Justice, submitted that the sub-regional court lacked, “the requisite jurisdiction” to hear and determine the matter before it.

The government also averred that in running to the ECOWAS court before the domestic courts were given a chance at hearing the defendant’s bail application, Kanu and his counsels were subjecting the Nigerian law to ridicule and abusing the processes of the court.

The government’s objection had also read inter alia: “The corporate existence of Nigeria as a united, harmonious, indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation is certainly greater than any citizen’s liberty or right……once the security of the nation is in jeopardy…and it survives in pieces rather than in peace, an individual’s liberty or rights may not even exist.

“It is trite law that a court cannot assume jurisdiction over ancillary claims when it has no jurisdiction to entertain the main claim, since an ancillary claim can only be properly determined by that court. Thus, it is improper to approach a court which is incompetent to determine only some of the issues in a case if there is a court with jurisdiction to determine all the issues.”

Dasuki was brought before the court within the jurisdiction that is called Nigeria. Besides, a regional court like ECOWAS should only have jurisdiction over member states or communities. Last we checked, Dasuki is not an ECOWAS member State. He’s a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It was an abuse of court process by the Ex-NSA to have run to an ECOWAS court in the first instance, with his case before courts in Nigeria.

The prosecuting agencies–EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and DSS–should be made to answer before the laws of the land if they took Dasuki away without a valid search warrant. But to negate a case premised on much more than national security because of a search warrant, will be stretching the liberty of the law a bit too far.

The ECOWAS court should really mind its business and allow our courts to sort out Dasuki and the mess he left behind in the Nigerian military. No interference please!

Enough said.

FG Continues To Hold Dasuki, Despite Court Order.

24 hours after the ECOWAS court ordered the Nigerian government to release and pay fifteen million in damages Col Sambo Dasuki(Rtd) for violating  his fundamental human right, there are signs that the government is not in hurry to comply with the court order.

Salihu Isah, Special Assistant on media to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, told our correspondent that the government has not complied as directed because it needed to understand the content of the court’s proceedings and judgment.

His words: “We cannot just react. We will first of all study the judgment to understand its content before taking a stand,”

Asked how long it will take the goverment to study the  content of the court ruling,  Mr. Salihu Isah, said, he does not know.

Recall that Sambo Dasuki has been detention since December 2015, however, the ECOWAS court on Tuesday ordered his release, describing the detention as “unlawful and an arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights”.

Mr. Joseph Daudu, counsel to Dauki insists that President Buhari through his comments on the presidential media chat in January 2016, confirmed that he was behind his ordeal. President Buhari had said  that  Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu would not be allowed on bail because they would jump bail.

ECOWAS Parliament Advises Against Panic Measures To Address Recession

The ECOWAS Parliament has advised Nigeria to avoid using “panic measures” to address the country’s current economic situation.
The call was made at the presentation of Nigeria’s Report at the ongoing second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja yesterday.

Members of parliament raised concerns over Nigeria’s current economic situation and advised that the country use a more inclusive approach to address the recession.
They commended efforts taken by the federal government to tackle the situation but raised concerns that it was not doing enough. Mr Dominic Azumah, representing Ghana, said Nigeria needed to include its citizens in the process of resolving the country’s economic situation.
“Using panic measures is not necessary; Nigeria needs to be calm, move with and consult the people on the way out of the economic recession.
Mr Alfred Agbeshie, also representing Ghana, raised, concerns about the vandalism of oil pipelines in the country.
“Is the release of money by the government going to solve the Nigerian economic situation?” he asked.
Ms Aïssata Daffe, representing Guinea, noted that despite the measures Nigeria had taken to contain corruption and improve the economy “the naira continues to depreciate”.
In her response, Mrs Lynda Ikpeazu, representing Nigeria, agreed that Nigeria was not doing enough to address the recession, but stressed that efforts were being made to revive the economy.
Ikpeazu reiterated that the federal government was engaging perpetrators of oil pipeline vandalism, which she said, had contributed to the current economic situation.
She also said the government would look into complaints made by some representatives on citizens of member countries facing difficulties in obtaining Right of Residence permits to live and work in the country.
Read More: dailytrust

Lead Campaign For Diversification Of ECOWAS Economy, FG Tells OTUWA

The Federal Government on Wednesday in Abuja urged the Organisation of Trade Union of West Africa (OTUWA) to lead the campaign for the diversification of the economy of the ECOWAS sub-region.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the call when he declared open a three-day workshop of OTUWA.

Ngige said the diversification of the economy of the ECOWAS sub-region was imperative because of the adverse effects of the global economic downturn.

He said the mono-economic bases of West African countries were largely responsible for their current economic woes.

“ There is a big threat to the economy of the ECOWAS sub-region because of our largely mono-economic base.

“I am happy that your organisation has been able to live down its challenges.

“ The revived OTUWA must, therefore, help the governments and employers in the sub-region to look elsewhere.

“In Nigeria, we must look for other sources of revenue and the most easily identifiable one is agriculture and of course, mining.

“We are also diversifying in trade and services. And because of the availability of fertile land in West Africa, the same thing goes to sister countries.

“OTUWA, which is our regional component of the World Union of Trade Unions, must, hence, lead this campaign for the diversification of the West African economy, ” the minister said.

Ngige called on the union to help the governments in the region develop the requisite skills for the full maximization of the utility of their cash crops.

He said this would enhance local processing of the raw forms into finished products.

He urged the workshop to be the starting point of this line of thought by getting the people to move from the area of white collar jobs to blue collar jobs in agriculture and mining.

Ngige urged OTUWA to be “ the catalysts in entrenching decent work environment in line with the ILO Convention which all are signatory to.”

Earlier, the President of OTUWA, Mr Mademba Sock, listed challenges facing labour in the sub-region and said the organisation was revived to fight the cause of the workers.

Also, Mr Dennis Zulu, ILO Country Director in Nigeria, said ILO had asked member states to organise national dialogues to come up with suggestions that would be useful for its development initiatives .

Zulu said that the initiatives would focus on work and society, decent jobs, the orgnisation of work and production as well as governance of work.

He called on social partners in the respective countries to contribute to the ILO Future of Work Initiative.




We’ve Jurisdiction To Hear Dasuki’s Suit – ECOWAS Court

The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States has ruled that it has the jurisdiction to hear a suit filed by former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to challenge his alleged unlawful detention.

Dasuki was arrested by the operatives of the Department of State Services on December 29, 2015, shortly after he was released on bail from Kuje Prison with respect to the various charges pending against him.

The ex-NSA has since then remained in the custody of the DSS.

In a ruling by a three-man bench on Monday, the ECOWAS Court dismissed the Federal Government’s objection to the hearing of Dasuki’s suit.

Justice Chijoke Nwoke, who presided over and read the court’s ruling, held that Nigeria’s Federal Government, represented by Tijani Ganzali, misunderstood the kernel of Dasuki’s case by arguing that it bordered on contempt of the orders previously made by the Nigerian courts.

The judge held that Dasuki’s case was mainly challenging the alleged breach of his fundamental human rights by agents of the Nigerian government.

He ruled, “In determining jurisdiction, the court is to look at the facts as stated by the plaintiff and the prayers he sought, not the defendant’s.

“A careful analysis of the facts by the applicant is that he was unlawfully detained without committing any offence, and that his continued detention was as a result of the defendant’s President’s statement that he will not be released.”

The judge also ruled that the Nigerian government’s argument that similar case was pending in local courts was baseless as the cases referred to were criminal and not related to rights abuse.

He added that from the facts available to the court, no similar case was pending before any other court which ordinarily would have denied the ECOWAS Court the necessary jurisdiction.

He said, “It is beyond contention that the issues raised in this matter border on human right violation. The defendant’s (Federal Republic of Nigeria’s) argument that a similar case is pending in Nigerian court is unfounded.

“The pendency of any similar case in Nigeria does not amount to lack of jurisdiction by an international court. An individual can maintain a fundamental rights enforcement case before this court even if he has not exhausted local remedies.”



Source –

ECOWAS Court To Hear Dasuki’s Case

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) court has set aside objections by the Federal Government to a case brought before it by former national security adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, who claimed that he has been unlawfully arrested and detained without trial.

The court ruled on Monday that it will hear the case, saying the matter dealt with “fundamental” human rights issues.

Dasuki, on trial for fraud in connection with the alleged looting of millions of dollars from arms contracts, has been detained since December despite being granted bail.

“From the totality of the issues brought before this court, it is clear and there is no ambiguity that the applicant is seeking enforcement of his right to freedom,” said Judge Friday Chijoke Nwoke.

“In our opinion, what Dasuki brought before us as a case is an issue for the enforcement of his fundamental rights to liberty.”

The ECOWAS decision to hear Dasuki’s case comes less than a week after an Abuja court directed the Nigerian government to allow the former security chief access to his lawyers.

Credit: ngrgaurdian

ECOWAS Commission Gets New President, Vice President, 7 Commissioners

Outgoing President of the ECOWAS Commission, Amb. Kadré Ouedraogo, has officially handed over to his successor, Mr Marcel Alain de Souza of Republic of Benin following the completion of his four-year tenure.


This formed part of activities of a handover ceremony for the incoming president and commissioners at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja on Friday.


In his address, Ouedraogo expressed confidence in the incoming president to facilitate the process of integration in the sub-region.

He described Alain de Souza as a “worthy son of West Africa and one with a distinguished and rich career.”

Born on Oct. 20, 1953 in Pobé, Republic of Benin, de Souza is a distinguished and rich career.

He held several positions, including that of Internal Controller at the Head Office of Bank of West African States (BCEAO) for Benin and Director of Admin at the BCEAO Headquarters.

After BCEAO, he served his country as Head of Department of Economic and Financial Affairs in the Office of the President of the Republic of Benin and as Special Advisor to the President on Monetary and Banking Affairs.

He served as Minister for Development, Economic Analysis and Forecast from May 28, 2011 to June 15, 2015, and as a Member of Parliament from June 15 to date.

Ouedraogo said “I call on heads of institutions and all members of staff of all categories to support the new president in the performance of his task as they have done with me.

“Tremendous progress had been made in the region in the last four years.”

He added that among other successes recorded were that the adoption of the single biometric identity card, the launch of the Abidjan- Lagos Highway Project and the implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET).

He said “these successes referred to above are an exemplification of ECOWAS’s pride of place among the outstanding Regional Economic Communities on our continent.”

Ouedraogo, however, added that the sub-region was still faced with challenges despite the progress made.

He added that “there is a need to restore ensure sustainable peace and security by relentlessly combating terrorism and organised border crime.

“In the second place is poverty eradication and the organisation’s capacity to meet expectations that have become more specific and urgent for our people.”

He expressed optimism that the sub-region would overcome challenges faced.

He stressed the need for enhanced capacity building for members of staff to ensure effectiveness and to meet up with the increasing demands of the community.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Vice President, Dr Toga Gayewea McIntosh of Liberia, and seven outgoing commissioners were succeeded by new ones.

The new vice president is now Edward Singhatey of The Gambia.

The new commissioners include Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Commissioner for Macro Economic Policy and the Commissioner for trade Customs and Free Movement.

Others include the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, the Commissioner for Finance and the Commissioner Agriculture, environment and water Resources.



Nigeria Will Continue To Support ECOWAS – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said Nigeria would continue to support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enable it to realise its noble objectives.


The president gave the assurance when he received the outgoing President of the ECOWAS Commission, Amb. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo at the State House, Abuja.


The President said the pursuit of the laudable goals of the regional economic bloc aimed at regional integration and peaceful co-existence that inspired its creation on May 28, 1975, would always remain a top priority for Nigeria.
“Nigeria, by its size and resources, has no alternative than to back ECOWAS to the hilt.
“We are part of ECOWAS. Indeed, we are at the very heart of it, so we will continue to play our role’’, he added.
Buhari said the gains recorded so far in collectively providing peace in the sub-region and curtailing health challenges were major achievements of ECOWAS that must be sustained.

‘‘Now, we have to get more reliable intelligence and support from the international community, and utilize the gains for the development of our countries”, he said.


The President, who commended Ouedraogo for his diligence and visionary leadership, wished him well in his future engagements.


Ouedraogo recounted some of his achievements over the four-year period of serving to include peace and stability in the region.


He mentioned the resolution of crises in Mali, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and the tackling of the Ebola scourge as some of his major achievements.


‘‘We signed trade agreements with China, U.S and Japan. The biometric identity card has been approved and is due for launch in 2016. A single currency by 2020 is on course.

On behalf of all ECOWAS institutions, I express my sincere thanks to Nigeria for all her support’’, he said.




New Speaker Emerges At ECOWAS Parliament

A new Speaker has been sworn in at the ECOWAS parliament alongside 115 new members of the regional parliament.

This was at the inaugural session of the 4th legislature of the ECOWAS parliament.

Senegalese born Moustapha Cisse-Lo who emerged unopposed, was unanimously elected by the Anglophone and Francophone member states to steer the wheels of the parliament for the next four years.

Taking over the reins of the parliament, Mr Cisse-Lo has the charge to see to the adoption of the supplementary act to enhance the powers of the regional parliament. This is among other tasks on regional security, development and trade.

The outgoing Speaker, Ike Ekweremadu set a major task for his incumbent; the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS parliament which he said was long overdue.

This charge was echoed by the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who said that the regional parliament has a task to recreate the sub-region with trade, infrastructural development and security at the front burner.

The new Speaker gave credence to the decision of the parliamentarians to elect him as he promised his determination to succeed with the tasks ahead.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Osinbajo Hails ECOWAS Leaders For Ensuring Democratic Transition In Burkina Faso

Osinbajo hails ECOWAS leaders for ensuring democratic transition in Burkina Faso
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lauded the ability of ECOWAS leaders to ensure an authentic democratic transition in Burkina Faso after 30 years of military rule.



Osinbajo said this in an interview with newsmen after the inauguration of President Mr Rock Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Ouaga 2000 Stadium in Ouagadougou on Tuesday.

“I think it is a very great occasion. It is a wonderful day indeed for West Africa and indeed for Africa because after 30 years of military rule in one form or the other, we now have a transition to an authentic civil democracy, which is incredible indeed.


“And the fact that all these happened with the active collaboration of ECOWAS states without any outside interference, is a great thing indeed.


I think that in many senses, ECOWAS has come of age. It shows that ECOWAS is able to resolve its disputes and to advance its own causes.


This is excellent indeed. So it is a very wonderful day and I congratulate the President on this great occasion and of course the people of Burkina Faso, who stood their ground and insisted on democracy.’’



The vice president also acknowledged the key role President Muhammadu Buhari played in halting the coup d’etat, which took place in the country, saying the stand of the Nigerian leader had ensured the installation of an enduring democratic rule in the country.



“President Muhammadu Buhari, of course, was at the table and was probably one of the key persons, who brought about this.


As a matter of fact the Burkinabes agreed that he played such a significant role in enabling this to happen.


Even from the time of their elections we aided the electoral committee logistically and in various other ways and the President was firm about the issue of the coup.


He was very firm and of course you know that he was possibly one of the active negotiators in ensuring that the coup did not stand.


So our relationships will be much stronger. I think the Burkinabe people understand the role that we have played and are very appreciative.’’



Osinbajo, who represented Buhari at the inauguration, said that the ECOWAS sub-region had come of age democratically and that the people of Burkina Faso had proved to be genuinely interested in good governance.


“They have been courageous; they have fought to see this day and they deserve all the congratulations and all the commendation.


“I think the people did an excellent outing; they stood their ground; but for that we probably wouldn’t be here today.’’



The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Kabore, who spoke in French, pledged to restore the past glory of the country and entrench transparency and promote democracy.



Kabore, who described the event as the beginning of “a new dawn”, pledged that liberty, equity, justice, and national reconciliation would be his watchwords.




Nigeria To Host ECOWAS In December

President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to host the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Heads of Governments.

In a four paragraph press release from the Presidency, President Buhari said that vital issues bordering on security and the economy would be discussed at the summit which holds during the third week in December 2015.

He said that it was time to seek the cooperation of the sub-region in fighting the scourge of terrorism and the illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea which he says currently undermines the West African economy.

In September, President Buhari hosted an extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government.

The main item on the agenda of the summit was the political situation which had caused violence and unrest in Burkina Faso.

Credit: ChannelsTV

ECOWAS TV, Radio Broadcast Channels To Begin Streaming In 2017

The Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) has said that its sub-regional radio and television channels will come on stream in 2017.
Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa, the ECOWAS Commissioner in charge of Telecommunication and Information Technologies, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
Acccording to him, the setting up of the station will promote integration in the sub-region and help project the identity of its people.
“Back in year 2000, the Heads of State of our 50 member states decided on the establishment of a radio and television channel for the community.
“The idea behind this is to promote the West African identity.
“We have free movement of goods and people, a common passport for the entire sub-region.
“We are about to launch a biometric ID card that would allow people to move and settle in any ECOWAS member state without resident permit.
“We have been making tremendous progress as far as regional integration is concerned.
“Setting up a television channel is a very expensive project.
There was a prefeasibility study, but we are at the initial phase of this project and we are going to run a feasibility study which will give us real estimate of how much this will cost.
“We are at the initial stage and we are reaching out to partners so we can move ahead with this project for our sub-region.
“We are aiming at 2017 for the launching of this radio and television channel.”
The commissioner said that the project would provide adequate information about ECOWAS, its visions, projects, programmes, successes and challenges.
He explained that the existence of the radio/ television channel would help in enlightening the people and enhancing their participation in the realisation of the vision and objectives of the sub-region.
Barreto da Rosa further said that the commission would collaborate with local media organisations and the private sector to bring the project to fruition.
He added that the collaboration will cut across the multilingual composition of the subregion.
“The promotion of the West African identity, values, the plural characteristics of the member states and the aspects that unite the 300 million people that live within the sub-region, are the core objectives of this radio and television channel.
“Since this will be a West African radio and television channel, we will work to make this channel reach all West African citizens with the language issues taken into consideration.
“One of the core aspects of this channel is that we will not be competing with any local radio and television station within the sub-region.
“We will be partnering with them because we believe that through exchange of content, we could indeed broadcast content from other media organisations to the most remote areas of the sub-region.”
Barreto da Rosa also stated that the commission will cooperate with the different partners as the project unfolds.
He hinted that the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government will decide the most suitable location for the radio/television channel.

Nigeria Urged To Explore ECOWAS Trading Opportunities

The Nigerian government has been advised to tap into the gains of the establishment of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) as a single large trading bloc.

At an event to commemorate 40 years anniversary of the ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, expressed worries that in spite of the commission’s achievements, Nigeria still grapples with industrial and trade growth among other West African countries.

One of the co-founders of ECOWAS and a former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, also joined Professor Akinyemi to implore future leaders to retain the credible flag of an economically viable Africa.

General Gowon also retained an analysis that Nigeria had attained some level of maturity that could only be fostered by an economically strong Africa.

In May 1975, the Leaders of 15 West African countries established the ECOWAS, to advance regional co-operation and self-sufficiency.

Forty years after, a common currency and dismantling of trade barriers remain elusive.

Celebrating the anniversary in Nigeria are diplomatic corps led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali.

Read Full Text Of Tribute To President Jonathan By ECOWAS

I am reading this on behalf of the ?Heads of ?State and Government of ECOWAS, at our 47th meeting in Accra.

We pay a vibrant tribute to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the determination he demonstrated during his tenure as Head of State and for all the necessary reforms for the development of his Country.

We wish to express our profound gratitude for his outstanding contribution to ?the ?deepening of the integration process in West Africa and the preservation of Peace and Security in our Region, particularly in the qualities he demonstrated as Chairman of ECOWAS and Chairman of the regional contact group on Guinea Bissau and as Co-mediator in the Malian crisis.

Futhermore, we wish to express our warmest congratulations for his exemplary democratic behaviour expected of a Statesman that contributed in a decisive way to the maintenance of peace that followed the ?declaration? of results of the presidential election in Nigeria.  We?,? th?e? ECOWAS Heads of state and government hereby express our goodwill to President Goodluck Jonathan for all his future undertakings at the end of his noble mission as the head of his country.

Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.

Accra, Ghana

ECOWAS Laments Chibok Girls Continuous Stay In Captivity

Heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday regretted that the Chibok girls have remained in the Boko Haram custody despite the rescue of over 1000 people by the Nigerian Army.

It, however, commended the progress recorded in the fight against the insurgents, saying the atrocities of the terrorist group was unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

Chairman of the ECOWAS and president of Ghana, John Mahama stated this during his opening address at the 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority on Tuesday in Accra, Ghana.

He said, “Today, thanks to the African Union and the multinational Joint Task Force formed by the Lake Chad Basin countries, a lot of progress has been made in the fight against Boko Haram.

“We are pleased to note the success in liberating the territories that Boko Haram dominated and the release of over 1000 people mostly women and children.

“The fight is however far from over. We have not yet secured the release of the young Chibok girls and Boko Haram has shown that it still has the capacity to counter attack”.

Noting that atrocities committed by the sect are second to none

Globally, Mahama said, “Last year, Nigeria and Cameroon were caught in the spate of terrible attacks and atrocities by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. They freely attacked with impunity and abducted hundreds of women and children.”

Jonathan Grateful For ECOWAS Leaders’ Support

President Goodluck Jonathan has appreciated leaders from West African sub-region for the support and cooperation with his administration and the country during his reign.

The outgoing President stated this in his remark at the 47th Ordinary Summit of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Ghana.

“I must start this brief remark by expressing my profound appreciation to you, the Government and People of Ghana for the warm reception accorded me and my delegation since our arrival here in Accra,” HE SAID.

“The traditionally warm hospitality that has been extended inspires admiration of the brotherly people of Ghana. It also certainly underscores the committed, forthright and exemplary leadership that you have personally offered our sub-region since assuming the Chairmanship of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.”

He thanked the ECOWAS Commission for the earnest efforts that went into the convening of this 47th Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS.

“It is no wonder that our Organisation continues to move from strength to strength in the face of both the strong leadership provided by our Chairman and the tireless work of the Commission under its President and staff. As we are all aware, this Summit coincides with the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of our organisation,” Jonathan said.

He believes that this milestone calls for acknowledgement of the exceptional vision of the founding fathers which has inspired a united approach to addressing our common challenges.

“Unity of purpose and action has enabled us to build our strength as we move forward to enhanced sub-regional cooperation and integration. The significant progress we have made so far can only be sustained and built upon through even closer consultations, collaboration and cohesion amongst us,” Jonathan said.

He said Nigeria remained fully committed to the goal of an integrated and single West African community of nations and people.

“We have, therefore, spared no efforts in ensuring the early detection of conflict and in taking necessary measures for its elimination in our sub-region. We do so, on the strong conviction that without peace, there will be no development; and that our peoples cannot be weaned out of poverty and deprivation without development,” he said.

Jonathan also congratulated Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, on his recent re-election as President of the Republic of Togo.

“The successful conduct of that election devoid of violence and held in a free, fair and credible manner further confirms that democracy has indeed come to stay in our sub-region.”

Credit: CAJ News

ECOWAS Reacts Indifferently To Polls

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Election Observation Mission (EOM) described the Nigerian elections as free and transparent despite some incidents and logistical challenges. This is contained in it preliminary report after the regional bloc deployed a 250-member mission of long-term and short-term observers headed by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor.

According to the five-page preliminary report the “shortcomings” require remedial action by the authorities to further enhance the credibility of the electoral process. “Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the organization of the election can be considered as generally acceptable,” the Mission said in the 22-point Declaration.

The regional body highlighted card reader malfunctioning in some polling stations, especially in the finger print identification of voters resulting in the resort to the use of manual accreditation of voters, insufficient and non-availability of electoral material like ballot papers, indelible ink and incident forms in some polling stations, late arrival of electoral officials and material and delay in the voting process as some of the challenges. “The Mission regrets the violent incidents that occurred during the electoral process in some parts of the country which in some cases led to the loss of lives and expressed its condolences to members of the families of those who lost their lives.”

It commended the enthusiasm, maturity, patience and sense of civic responsibility demonstrated by the electorate, and expressed the hope that the same spirit of respect for order and discipline will characterize the rest of the electoral process.

It noted the generally high voter turnout, with voters displaying commendable level of patience, discipline and organization and laudable participation of women and young people, and urged voters to maintain their high sense of responsibility and tolerance during the remaining election period.

Credit: CAJ News

Nigeria’s Stability Crucial For Regional Peace -ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States has urged Nigerians to ensure that the rescheduled 2015 general elections are held peacefully in the interest of regional peace.

President of the ECOWAS commission, Ambassador Kadre Desire Ouedraugo, said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, in his Abuja office on Wednesday.

The diplomat said ECOWAS, like the rest of the international community, was interested in the peaceful conduct of the elections because of Nigeria’s strategic position in regional and international affairs.

Ouedraugo said, “We have decided to meet all stakeholders in the election to have your views of the electoral process. Peace and stability is essential for development and progress of Nigeria and the entire region. We would count on everyone to make sure that we have peaceful elections.

“As you are aware, the mandate of ECOWAS is to monitor and observe all general elections in our member states and for us elections in Nigeria are special.

“They are of great importance for peace and stability to our region and this is the reason why the chairman of the authority, together with all ECOWAS institutions, is following very closely the electoral process in Nigeria.

“On his behalf and on behalf of my delegation and my behalf we want to thank you and express our gratitude to you on the efforts made to have peaceful elections in Nigeria. We have decided to deploy an observer team of 250 persons to Nigeria and we have decided to deploy a long term observation mission. They were deployed on 20th January in the geopolitical zones of Nigeria.”

He expressed gratitude to the APC flag bearer for conducting himself peacefully like the statesman that he is since the elections were postponed.

Ouedraugo further revealed that former Ghanaian president, Mr. John Kuffour would soon be in the country on a fact-finding mission before the March 28 date.

ECOWAS Observers Arrive for Elections

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has deployed 12 members of the Long-term Election Observation Mission (LTEOM) to five of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones to monitor the country’s general elections.

According to a statement from the regional body at the weekend, the team, which is part of a larger 250-strong ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM), headed by former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, has met key Nigerian political stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Human Rights Commission.

“The observers have also consulted with Civil Society Organizations including the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Policy of Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) UN Women and the EU delegation. The LTEOM team, which comprises Election, Political Legal, Conflict Prevention, Operations and Media Specialists, has also received preliminary briefings from officials of the ECOWAS Commission’s Early Warning and Political Affairs, Peace and Security Directorates,” the statement read.

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