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President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated for measures to prevent coups, describing the recent ouster of government on the continent as troubling.

Speaking at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states, Buhari called for general suspension of nations where military seizes power.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said ECOWAS must take proactive steps to prevent coups d’etat in the sub-region, and even on the continent.

“Four coups within the last few months is a dangerous trend indeed in the sub-region,” adding that the unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form was “simply unacceptable” and had no place in the 21st century.

The meeting, attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders, alongside others, including representatives from the United Nations, came after Guinean President Alpha Conde was ousted by a coup d’etat in the West African country on September 5.

This culminated in his arrest and detention by the country’s military junta, the dissolution of the Guinean Government, suspension of the Constitution, and a military takeover.

The Nigerian leader said: “I join all well-meaning global leaders to express in the strongest terms the condemnation of the Government of Nigeria of this unconstitutional change of Government; a development that could seriously destabilize the Republic of Guinea.

“What happened in Guinea is a brazen disregard for the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly states that every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent election.”

While expressing concern, Osinbajo went ahead to table an idea which the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo later described as “a proposal of great weight.”

According to him, “We are sliding back to the infamous 60s. Our zero-tolerance for coups is important but clearly insufficient. Are there further steps that we can take to prevent coups d’etat?

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

The Vice President said it was imperative that countries in the sub-region respected the provisions against unconstitutional accession to power, and to apply it in all instances.

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

He added that “ECOWAS must use its regional mechanisms efficiently to Speaking on the update on the situation in Mali, the Vice President commended former President Goodluck Jonathan “for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in Mali.”
-Daily Trust

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