Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday challenged African leaders to demonstrate their preparedness to adopt a comprehensive approach towards addressing the root causes of violence and poverty in various parts of the continent.
He made this statement while addressing African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, when he led a discussion on peace and security in his capacity as the Chairman of AU’s Peace and Security Council, an equivalent of UN’s Security Council.
According to him, African leaders must strive hard to get to the root of violence and ensure that they don’t bequeath on the forthcoming generation the legacy of wars and poverty.
“We need to rekindle our political will and determination not to bequeath to the next generation of Africans the burden of wars, poverty and misery. It is therefore necessary for the Assembly to reaffirm the overriding importance of holistically addressing the root causes of violent conflicts in our countries,” he said.
Osinbajo who conveyed the greetings of President Muhammadu Buhari to the gathering, observed that the Peace and Security Council of AU had continued to relentlessly discharge its mandate of promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.
He lamented the devastating effects of wars and conflicts on the continent, saying it has brought huge setback to social and economic growth of the continent, noting that peace and security must be Africa’s driving force.
“The tragic consequences of wars and conflicts in Africa are self-evident. The millions killed and maimed, the millions displaced, children out of school, set us back decades economically and socially,” he said.
He insisted that peace and security in Africa was not negotiable.
“Our resolve to end wars and conflicts in Africa is therefore our vote for a future of real growth and development for our continent. Our peace and security agenda must remain on the front burner of our deliberations.
“We have no choice; peace, security and stability are fundamental to the realisation of sustainable development and to assure our peoples of decent and happy lives.
“As we move towards silencing the guns by 2020, our collective resolve must remain solid and steadfast to effectively tackle conflicts, terrorism, violent extremism and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
“Pursuant to our 50th anniversary’s Solemn Declaration, and under Nigeria’s chairmanship of the Peace and Security Council in the month of July, we will prioritise the adoption of practical measures to address the current security challenges in South Sudan, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, the Sahel-Sahelo and Lake Chad Basin regions.
“Furthermore, Nigeria will strengthen the engagement with all AU Member States in confronting the menace of child soldiering and millions of out-of-school children in armed conflict areas. To this effect, I would like to urge your full support and cooperation in this endeavour,” he stated.