President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening returned from Bamako, Mali, after many hours of consultations and closed door meeting meant to mitigate political crisis in that country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by the host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita; Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign, before peace can return to the country.
Crisis erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.
Riots on July 10 led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Friday said the ECOWAS leaders listened to a brief by the ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former President Goodluck Jonathan, and leader of the opposition, Imam Mahmoud Dicko.
According to him, the representatives of opposition alliance, M5 and Civil Society Organisations also addressed the ECOWAS leaders at the meeting.
“The host President also briefed the Heads of State and government on the socio-political situation in the country, especially the disagreements that spiralled into protests and violence,’’ Adesina said.
Speaking to newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, President Mahamadou Issoufou, said the sub-regional organisation would do all it could to mitigate political crisis in Mali.
Issoufou, who is the President of Niger Republic, said an extra-ordinary virtual meeting of ECOWAS Heads of State and government will be held on July 26,, to further deliberate on the issues raised, with a view to finding lasting solution to the crisis.
He said the sub-regional leaders had already agreed there would be a need for a compromise to protect the peace and integrity of the nation. He added that allowing a political crisis to fester in Mali would affect the security situation in West Africa, especially neighbouring countries.
The ECOWAS Chairman commended Nigeria’s former President, Jonathan, for accepting to lead an initial mission to the country to broker peace, and make findings, while appreciating all the West African leaders who attended the meeting.
Earlier, Ghanaian President said that the ECOWAS protocol would be followed, explaining that “the democratic tenet adopted by the sub-regional body clearly spells out that a President can only be voted into power, and voted out by election, except he completes his tenure.’’
The Ghanaian leader noted that the protocol would be adhered to ensure safety and peace in the sub-region.