Malian Coup Leader, Captain Amadu Sanogo
By Chineme Okafor
President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday initiated fresh moves to constructively engage leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Malian military junta in a wide consultation that could lead to a swift conclusion of the political crisis in Mali.
Jonathan’s recent move is thought to be a form of an exit strategy for the Captain Amadu Sanogo led military junta which executed a coup that suspended the constitution of Mali and ousted President Ahmadu Toumani Toure; but have been widely condemned by members of ECOWAS which have also initiated sanctions against the junta.
While receiving representatives of the junta yesterday in Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru specifically stated that Nigeria is opposed to any form of military rule in the African continent, and has no intention of granting recognition to the junta in Bamako.
He told the delegation led by Col. Blonkoro Samake and Major Abdulahi Amake that Nigeria would continue to closely work with the leadership of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States which is chaired by President Alassana Quatara to ensure speedy restoration of constitutional order and subsequent suppression of the Taureg rebels which have grown strong in the wake of the coup.
Although, the closed door meeting between the Federal Government and representatives of the junta was yet to be concluded as at the time of filing this report, the spokesperson of the ministry, Mr. Ode Ogbele Ayedu, told reporters that discussions were ongoing and is very constructive.
He said: “Discussions are ongoing and are very constructive. The minister made it very clear that Nigeria is opposed to military takeover of governments and has no intention of granting recognition to the junta in Bamako.
From the meeting so far, there are indications that constitutional order will be speedily restored in Mali. Nigeria continues to work in close collaboration with the leadership of ECOWAS especially His Excellency, President Alassana Quatara. President Jonathan has initiated further consultation with ECOWAS leadership and some principal actors in Mali.”
The delegation had earlier stated that they were mandated by the junta to present to Nigeria, actual situation in Mali as well as seek support in tackling the Taureg rebels amongst other things.