The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called for stricter measures taken against nations where military takes over government by force.
He made the call on Wednesday at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states on the political developments in the Republics of Guinea and Mali.
According to the Vice President who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting, one of such stricter measures that could be taken would be a suspension from the international community.
“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?” he asked.
Professor Osinbajo believes such a measure will prevent subsequent coups d’etat in the sub-region, and even on the continent.
The meeting, attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders, alongside others, including representatives from the United Nations, comes 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, as well as the dissolution of the Guinean government and suspension of the Constitution.
‘Zero-Tolerance For Coups’
Osinbajo, who stated Nigeria’s position on the unfortunate development in Guinea, joined other global leaders to condemn the unconstitutional change of government in that – a development which he said could seriously destabilise 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 a free, fair and transparent election,” he was quoted as saying in a communique by his media aide, Laolu Akande.
“The unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable; four coups within the last few months is a dangerous trend indeed.”
The Vice President Prof. Osinbajo went ahead to table an idea which the Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, described as “a proposal of great weight.”
“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? he questioned.
Professor Osinbajo stressed the need for countries in the sub-region to respect the provisions against unconstitutional accession to power and to apply it in all instances.
“The Authority (should) to immediately invoke the provisions of Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance by suspending Guinea from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and statutory meetings.
“We should also take any other necessary punitive measures that will ensure that the military junta does not overstay in power,” he proposed.
“We must forestall a repeat of military interventions and the instability it engenders in the West African sub-region. In this connection, Nigeria wishes to once again urge all to always respect the principles of democracy and the constitutions of your respective countries.”
Furthermore, the Vice President urged the ECOWAS body 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 would return the country to democratic rule as soon as possible.
One of the other steps to be taken in finding a lasting solution to the unfortunate development in Guinea, according to him, is for the military junta not to only ensure the physical safety of President Conde and all those detained along with him, but also ensure his immediate and unconditional release.
“The safety of lives and property of the people of Guinea must also be guaranteed. The military must draw up a timetable for a civilian-led transition and commence the process of exiting the Guinean political stage and return the country to constitutional order and civilian rule,” Professor Osinbajo submitted.
Speaking on the update on the situation in Mali, he commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for his continued commitment and engagement with the various stakeholders in that country.
“Let me reiterate the imperative for the Malian Transitional government to strictly respect the electoral timetable unveiled on 15th April 2021,” said the Vice President.
“I further call for the continued support and collaboration of all the major players in the country’s march towards a successful transition.
“Nigeria will continue to closely monitor the situations in Guinea and Mali, as well as work with the ECOWAS Commission, the African Union, and other member-states to facilitate the return of both countries to civil governance.”