– ECOWAS special and Nigeria’s ex-president Jonathan has briefed President Buhari regarding his meeting with Mali’s military junta
– Jonathan said the ECOWAS delegates were allowed to see the ousted Malian president, adding that the junta explained why he was still being held
– President Buhari said the priority in the Republic of Mali now should be securing the country, adding that ECOWAS heads of state and leaders will take a position on Friday
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Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan has briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on his meeting with the military junta in Mali.
A statement by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina indicates that Jonathan who is a Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) briefed the president on Wednesday, August 26.
Receiving the briefings, President Buhari said the priority in the Republic of Mali now should be securing the country, which is largely occupied by terrorists.
The Nigerian leader made the statement ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS heads of state and leaders, scheduled for Friday, August 28.
President Buhari stressed: “About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests.”
He said the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday, hoping that an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties would be arrived at.
Jonathan brought the president up to speed on dialogue with the military coup leaders, who are seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections.
“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People. We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him,’’ the special envoy said.
“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months. The Interim Government would then organize elections to restore full constitutional order.”
The former president disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted Malian president, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position.
He added that the military leaders want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country, “but we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS heads of state.”
After a successful ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, the junta tabled its plans before the delegation of the ECOWAS led by Jonathan on Sunday, August 23, Legit.ng earlier reported.
The junta wants the military to rule for three years during which the transition back to the civilian rule will be planned.
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