Tag Archives: #ECOWAS

Nigeria – Ghana Group, Traders Laud Gbajabiamila Over Intervention In Trade Dispute

The spokesman of the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Mr Lanre Lasisi, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria. In a statement issued early today said.

“The Nigeria-Ghana Business Council and the Nigeria Union of Traders Association Ghana (NUTAG) have commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila over his intervention in the trade disputes with the government of Ghana.

Members of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council said through their President, Omoba Bambo Ademiluyi, that Gbajabiamila’s visit to Ghana has made positive impact and paved the way for an amicable resolution to the trade dispute.

In a letter of appreciation and commendation dated September 5 and addressed to the Speaker, Mr Ademiluyi said: “It is on record that your trip brought about the highest involvement of both governments in this dispute that has been on since 2007.

“Your proposals and presentations have given rise to two very vital solutions to the problem: 1. The review of the GIPC Act demanding $1,000,000 deposit for foreign investors in Ghana as it concerns Nigerians. 2. The promotion of the Nigeria-Ghana Business Council backed by legislation to superintend on trade and business issues between the two countries.”

He said the formation of the business council as proposed by the Speaker was a welcome development.

“Our objectives and activities align with the proposal which is being introduced to superintend trade issues of the two countries.

“It is, therefore, our wish to express support for the formation of this council and request that we work with your team to see to a successful emergence of a government-backed Business Council.”

On their part, members of NUTAG said in another letter addressed to the Speaker dated September 6 that Gbajabiamila’s visit and engagement with the Ghanaian authorities were timely and a right step in the right direction.”

The spokesman further said:

“In the letter, signed by the association’s President, Chief Chukwuemeka Nnaji, the Nigerian traders urged the Speaker not to despair in ensuring that resolutions reached during the interface are implemented by all concerned parties.

The traders noted that Gbajabiamila’s intervention was a testimony that President Muhammadu Buhari and the government of Nigeria have the interest of Nigerians at home and abroad at heart.

The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, please, allow me to seize this opportunity to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association of Ghana (NUTAG), for your kind, responsible and timely intervention to quell the much travails we have been experiencing at the hands of Ghanaian authorities and our Ghanaian counterpart, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

“Sir, the leadership of NUTAG and all Nigerian traders in Ghana, as well as other Nigerians living in Ghana, deeply appreciate your recent visit to Ghana in order to try and resolve the lingering trade impasse between Ghana and Nigeria; in unison, we hail this as the right step in the right direction.

“The move at once displays that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari has all Nigerian citizens very close at heart, both at home and abroad.

“We are indeed very grateful to you and the entire team who embarked on this journey, and we are optimistic that an end to our travails in Ghana is at hand.”

“The president of the trade union, however, stated that a lot of Nigerian traders in Ghana are finding things difficult as their means of livelihood have been shut down.

The traders appealed to the Nigerian Government to engage with the Ghanaian Government to reopen the said shops pending an enduring solution the impasse.” He concluded.

President Buhari Urges ECOWAS Leaders To Resist The Temptation of Tenure Elongation

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, has today in a statement said:

“President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to ECOWAS leaders not to elongate their tenure in office beyond constitutional limits.
Making the call while presenting Nigeria’s General Statement at the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic on Monday, the President urged his colleagues to respect constitutional provisions and ensure free and fair elections.

According to him, it is “important that as leaders of our individual Member-States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.

“As it is, the challenges facing the sub-region are enormous; from socio-economic matters to security issues, the ECOWAS sub-region cannot therefore afford another political crisis, in the guise of tenure elongation. I urge us all to resist the temptation of seeking to perpetuate ourselves in power beyond the constitutional provisions.

“I commend those in our midst that have resisted such temptations, for they will be deemed exceptional role models in their respective countries and the sub-region as a whole.

“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”

On the political situation in Mali, President Buhari said it is of serious concern to ECOWAS, and commended President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and out-going Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Leadership of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the Chief Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, “for effectively demonstrating commitment in handling the political situation in that country.”

He declared that “Nigeria remains resolutely committed to ECOWAS decision for a civilian-led Transition Government not exceeding 12 months. This is important because of the circumstances surrounding Mali where violent non-state actors and other negative tendencies reside and who can take advantage of the unstable political situation to overrun the country, thereby plunging it into greater danger that will affect the political stability of the whole sub-region.

“While Nigeria understands the current political realities in Mali, the sub-region’s commitment to the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, must never be compromised.

“An early return to democratic governance which is transparent and civilian-led, will commend itself for Nigeria’s support for progressive relaxation of sanctions against Mali.”

On security, the Nigerian leader noted that, “Terrorism continues to be the greatest security threat in our sub-region, complicating other national security challenges. As a sub-region, we need to collaborate more by working hand in hand with each other, to combat the root causes of the different security-related manifestations in our countries.”

He said, “Nigeria is concerned with the rapidity at which terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa are working together against all of us,” adding that, “We must urgently review these ugly developments to guarantee the safety and survival of our sub-region.”

“Our national security apparatus and the relevant Units of ECOWAS must urgently be seized with these unfolding events across our sub-region and act decisively on the emergence of early warning signs,” he said.

Dwelling on the long-standing single currency issue for the sub-region, the President said, “Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the action plan towards the actualization of the monetary union and single currency programme of ECOWAS,” and called on “Member States to show support to the resolution of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS on this matter.”

Cognisant of the “likelihood that many ECOWAS member states may not meet the convergence criteria over the next few years due to the impact of COVID-19 on our economies and which as a consequence, will affect the take-off date of the single currency,” he said “Notwithstanding this envisaged delay, we must remain collectively focused and resolute in working to achieve the objectives of the ECOWAS monetary union as a project for the sub-region.”

Insisting that “the premature adoption of the “ECO” has unnecessarily heightened disaffection and mistrust among members of the emerging monetary union,” President Buhari encouraged “UEMOA (French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union) to return to the roadmap on the common currency in the sub-region.”

He also urged all stakeholders to “bear in mind that those economic convergence criteria must be based on sound and sustainable macroeconomic fundamentals.”

Noting that some key unresolved issues still remained such as delinking the CFA franc of the UEMOA from the Euro; whether the UEMOA countries join as a bloc or individual countries; design of the exchange rate mechanism; Stabilization Fund; policy harmonization and exit strategy and reserve pooling among others, the Nigerian President called on his colleagues to provide “African solutions to African problems.”

According to him, “Foreign interference and so-called advice may not be in our best sub-regional interest,” as he stressed the “need for UEMOA to return to the agreed roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency by complying with the established framework under the roadmap and cooperate with other member countries in achieving the objectives of the programme.”

Observing that the Summit was holding “under a very complex health pandemic, whose impact on the global health and economy has so far been devastating,” President Buhari said “like the rest of the world, our sub-region is witnessing economic downturn with negative growth that is headed towards deep recession and the outlook continues to be uncertain.”

He, therefore, charged his colleagues on the “need to continue to work in concert with each other on several fronts to ease the negative effects of the pandemic,” adding that, “We need to demonstrate our collective resolve to harness the opportunities that come with COVID-19, despite its overwhelming negative impact on lives and livelihoods.”

The Nigerian President, who is the ECOWAS Champion charged with mobilising and coordinating the efforts against the pandemic, admitted that the “outlook for our sub-region with COVID-19 hovering over us is gloomy indeed.”

He, however, expressed confidence that “where there are challenges, opportunities are also available to be seized upon through greater collaboration with each other.”

“We must pool our resources together in unity to save our generation and generations to come from multiple challenges, including COVID-19 and related health issues.

“We need to redouble our efforts in preparing our national economies to withstand impending shocks against prospective multi-sector challenges that await us in the sub-region,” he declared.

Acknowledging that it is no easy task, President Buhari appealed to fellow leaders to “embrace our collective vision for the future with greater determination and innovative thinking and creativity.”

President Buhari Attends ECOWAS Summit In Niger Republic; COVID-19, Economy, Security And Democracy Top Agenda – Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Monday for Niamey, Niger Republic to participate in the Fifty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
The one-day summit will deliberate on the Special Report on COVID-19 to be presented by President Buhari who was appointed the ECOWAS Champion on the Fight against COVID-19 during the Extraordinary Virtual Summit of ECOWAS on April 23, 2020.
As a Champion, the Nigerian leader was expected to coordinate the sub-regional response against the pandemic. In furtherance of that objective, under the supervision of the Champion, Nigerian Ministers of Health, Aviation and Finance were appointed Chairpersons of the Ministerial Coordination Committees on Health; Transport, Logistics and Trade; and Finance respectively.
The Summit will also receive a Special Report on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme to be presented by President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone and Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), and President Alassane Ouattara, who is Chair of the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA).
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean Claude Kassi Brou will present to the West African leaders, the 2020 Interim Report on activities of the sub-regional body including ECOWAS Vision 2050.
The alarming rise in incidents of terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and piracy will also come under focus, while the disruption of the democratic process by the military in Mali, will receive further attention.
Similarly, in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Niger where parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for this year, the imperative to strengthen democracy in the sub-region by respecting constitutional provisions, rule of law and outcomes of free and fair polls, will be emphasised.
President Buhari, who will be accompanied to the Summit by ministers and other top government officials, will return to Abuja after the meeting.

The statement was made available yesterday by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.

President Buhari Backs 12 Months Sets By ECOWAS For Returns To Democratic Order In Mali

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja joined ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments in a virtual meeting, charging the military junta in Mali to set an acceptable time table for return to democratic government, since the country cannot afford to stand alone in the sub-region.

In his remarks at the third Extraordinary Summit of ECOWAS on the socio-political crisis in Mali, President Buhari said from the briefings presented by the Special Envoy, former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was clear that the regional body’s engagements with the new military leadership in Mali were yet to achieve the desired results in several key areas.

“I am, however, personally happy to hear of the release from detention of the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is reported to be in good condition. The disposition of the new leadership to free the remaining senior officials is noted as this should contribute to the renewed sense of belonging to the Malian people.

“With regards to other areas being negotiated, Nigeria believes that the people of Mali and the military leaders need to appreciate the fragility of their country and the imminent danger which it poses to the citizens of Mali as well as the ECOWAS sub-region, “the President said.

He added that the military leadership should be flexible in negotiations by putting the interest of all Malians and the harmony of the sub-region into consideration.

“For the people of Mali, specifically the leadership, embracing Democracy and Good Governance is crucial to the country’s political stability. Mali cannot therefore afford to stand alone, hence the need to come to terms with the realities of an acceptable and workable transition compact that inspires the confidence of all Malians.

“Meanwhile, I urge the military leadership to consider: the immediate release of all the remaining senior Government officials in detention, without pre-conditions; a transition process, to be completed in not more than 12 months, and which shall include the representatives of Malian stakeholders.

“This is a critical consideration for the new government to enjoy the cooperation and collaboration of regional and international community, and to allow the easing of sanctions imposed on Mali.’’

President Buhari also emphasized the need for Mali’s Constitutional Court to work hand in hand with all the Malian stakeholders to ensure an early and hitch-free return to a democratic government through free, fair and inclusive election.

According to the President, “In this connection Nigeria will, alongside ECOWAS, provide necessary logistics support to facilitate the conduct of elections to re-establish democratic governance in Mali.

“As I conclude this intervention, let me thank once again, the Mediator, Dr Jonathan, as well as my colleagues in the sub-region, who have continued to demonstrate sincere commitment to the resolution of this crisis. Nigeria stands in solidarity with the good people of Mali.’’

President Buhari commended the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic for convening the Extraordinary Summit.

The President also condoled with Alassane Ouattara, President of Cote D’ivoire, on the loss of a close aide, Mamadi Diane.

Among Declarations of the Summit adopted by ECOWAS leaders were that the transition government in Mali must be led by civilians, and that the return to constitutional order should be concluded within 12 months.

Malian military was also encouraged to focus on securing the country, faced with severe security threats from its northern part, instead of an incursion into governance.

The statement was made available by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, today August 28, 2020.

President Buhari Expresses Great Concern About ECOWAS Common Currency

President Muhammadu Buhari calls for caution as the West African countries works toward a common currency (The ECO) for the sub-region. The concern of Mr. President was made available on his Twitter handle as follows:

“It gives me an uneasy feeling that the UEMOA Zone wishes to take up the Eco in replacement for its CFA Franc ahead of other ECOWAS Member States. It‘s a matter of concern that a people with whom we wish to go into a union are taking major steps without trusting us for discussion.

Nigeria fully supports and is committed to a monetary union with the right fundamentals—a union which guarantees credibility, sustainability and overall regional prosperity and sovereignty. But we must do things properly and ensure absolute compliance with the set standards.”

The Nigerian President went further and started that:

“We cannot ridicule ourselves by entering a union to disintegrate, potentially no sooner than we enter into it. We need to be clear and unequivocal about our position regarding this process.

We must also communicate same to the outside world effectively. We have all staked so much in this project to leave things to mere expediencies and convenience.”

“We must proceed with caution and comply with the agreed process of reaching our collective goal while treating each other with utmost respect. Without these, our ambitions for a strategic Monetary Union as an ECOWAS bloc could very well be in serious jeopardy.” He concluded.

The move for the ECO is long overdue, and most citizens of the ECOWAS countries will like to see it come to fruition soon than later, especially when one put into consideration the increasing volumes of trade between them despite some structural challenges in following the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and persons within the sub-region.

ECOWAS: President Buhari Urge For Caution On The Issue of Common Currency

Photo Credit Sunday Aghaeze.

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, in a statement issued today, said:

“President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday cautioned that the ambition for Eco regional currency could be in ‘serious jeopardy,’ unless member states complied with agreed processes of reaching the collective goal.

President Buhari also expressed concern over the decision of francophone countries that form the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to replace the CFA Franc with Eco ahead of the rest of Member States.

The President delivered Nigeria’s position on the new regional currency at a virtual extraordinary meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).

The meeting discussed the implementation of the ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Programme (EMCP) and the ECOWAS Single Currency Agenda.

‘‘Your Excellencies, you all are familiar with the history of the Eco thus far, so I will not bore you with that. We reverted to a single track approach, giving up Eco which is the original idea of the WAMZ so the ECOWAS-wide programme could thrive.

‘‘In this regard, we have made remarkable progress including the adoption of the Exchange Rate regime, the name and model of the common Central Bank and the symbol.

‘‘We have urged our Ministers towards an expeditious path to success. It, therefore, gives me an uneasy feeling that the UEMOA Zone now wishes to take up the Eco in replacement for its CFA Franc ahead of the rest of the Member States.

‘‘This is in addition to deviating from the Community Act on a consistent attainment of convergence in the three years running up to the introduction of the currency, and our subsequent reinforcing directives.

‘‘I am informed that the French Ministers have approved a bill to reform the CFA Franc and most, if not all of the UEMOA Member States, have already passed legislations in their various Parliaments to that effect.

‘‘It is a matter of concern that a people with whom we wish to go into a union are taking these major steps without trusting us for discussion,’’ he said.

President Buhari, who assured ECOWAS leaders of Nigeria’s commitment to the ECOWAS single currency, urged them to critically consider the recommendations made by the Convergence Council and take a common position to safeguard the West African Monetary Zone from the pitfalls of a questionable union.

He affirmed Nigeria’s support for a monetary union with the right fundamentals, which guarantees credibility, sustainability and overall regional prosperity and sovereignty.

According to the President, Nigeria also believes that given the potential contractions and even losses from the global Covid-19 pandemic, member states cannot but be too cautious about ensuring compliance with the set standards.

‘‘We cannot ridicule ourselves by entering a union to disintegrate, potentially no sooner than we enter into it.

‘‘We need to be clear and unequivocal about our position regarding this process. We must also communicate same to the outside world effectively. We have all staked so much in this project to leave things to mere expediencies and convenience.

‘‘My dear colleagues, Heads of State and Government, It is obvious that we are at a crossroads.

‘‘We must proceed with caution and comply with the agreed process of reaching our collective goal while treating each other with utmost respect. Without these, our ambitions for a strategic Monetary Union as an ECOWAS bloc could very well be in serious jeopardy,’’ he said.

In the light of the caution raised by Nigeria and some other West African countries at the meeting, ECOWAS leaders resolved to convene an enlarged meeting of the regional bloc on the single currency issue.”

The Gov’t of Chad Republic Demands Power Supply From Nigeria

The government of Chad Republic has formally requested the Nigerian government to connect the country to the Nigerian electricity grid.

The request was presented by the Chadian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abakar Saleh Chachaimi during a working visit to the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman in Abuja.

The Ambassador stressed the historical and economic value of connecting Chad to Nigeria’s electricity as a means of continued collaboration between the countries. Reacting to the request, Engr. Mamman welcomed the development, stressing that it will help in enhancing the long existing relations between the two countries.

The minister said the request from Chad Republic came at the best time as he reassured the Chadian envoy that Nigeria will evaluate it within the various projects under the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) for possible integration of the request.

“I, therefore, direct the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) whose representatives are part of this meeting, to come up with a business case and implementation modalities. Based on that, we will write to the Presidency to secure all the necessary approvals,” Engr. Mamman said.

The minister also approved the request to host his counterpart from the Republic of Chad for a technical analysis of the request. He further informed the Chadian delegation that currently, Nigeria has bilateral contracts for supplying electricity to Niger Republic and Benin Republic which have been ongoing for decades. Engr. Mamman also noted that under the framework of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) whose objectives include promotion of power exchange among the ECOWAS member states, the Republics of Benin, Burkina-Faso, Niger and Nigeria, are building an 875 kilometre distance of 330 kilovolt power transmission line, the “North Core Transmission line”. The line will interconnect the four countries for improved power supply from Nigeria. He said,

“this project got the concurrent acceptance of the World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and French Development Agency (AFD) to finance different segments of the proposed transmission line. “As at September 2019, all the financing became effective and the implementation structure for the project has earlier been established with Project Implementation Unit (PIU) located in Abuja.” He concluded.

COVID-19: President Buhari Demands Economic Recovery Plan For ECOWAS

COVID-19: President Buhari Demands Economic Recovery Plan For ECOWAS

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), today 11th June, 2020, in a statement about ECOWAS meeting said:

“President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the ECOWAS Commission to come up with an economic recovery plan to help Member-states to recover from the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking Thursday at a virtual meeting with the President of the Commission, Jean Kassi-Brou, President Buhari, in his capacity as the ECOWAS COVID-19 Champion, agreed to provide logistic support to enable the sub-region receive and distribute procured and donated medical equipment using Abuja as the hub for the distribution.”

Garba Shehu, further said:

“The Nigerian leader lamented that the pandemic is yet to reach its peak in the sub-region and warned against laxity in the fight against it. He called on Member-states to continually sensitise their citizens on preventive measures.

The President expressed appreciation on behalf of ECOWAS member-states for the “swift interventions made to the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control by the Jack Ma Foundation,” while also commending the support so far received from “development partners such as the European Union, African Development Bank, France and Germany for their financial contributions in the procurement of medical supplies.”

He urged member-states to work closely in order to overcome the pandemic in the sub-region.”

“In his report to President Buhari, the President of ECOWAS Commission advocated additional strategies to assist the sub-region in fighting the health and economic impact of COVID-19.

According to Kassi-Brou, these include, the need for advocacy at continental and global levels particularly with the G20, World Bank, United Nations and the African Development Bank among others, for support to negate the health and economic damage to the ECOWAS sub-region; and mass awareness campaign to achieve behavioural change among the citizens of the community with effective customs, security and health protocols put in place throughout the sub-region.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission used the occasion to condole with the government and people of Nigeria on the latest Boko Haram attack on Gubio Local Government in Borno State during which scores of innocent Nigerians were killed.” He concluded.