Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African leaders to ensure socio-political stability in their respective countries to achieve peace and speedy regional and sub-regional integration in the continent.
The president gave the challenge at a joint press briefing with the visiting Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after a closed door meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He noted that even though the situation in the ECOWAS sub-region was relatively stable, there was the need to continue to persuade the leaders to pay more attention to security and development.
“The situation in our sub-region is relatively stable but there is the need for us to continue to persuade our colleagues to show appreciation on the efforts the sub-region is doing to make sure that we pay more attention to security and development.
“I have appreciated very much your efforts and I also congratulate you on your successes. I believe you may even go outside the region, to African Union (AU), so that before the AU meeting we try and persuade the leadership of those countries in our sub-region to show more patience and accommodation with politics of their countries.”
The president said the ongoing 3rd Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security would discuss some political developments in two countries of the sub-region.
While commending the Liberian leader for handling the affairs of the ECOWAS diligently, Buhari lauded Sirleaf’s efforts in stabilising her country. “I have to very sincerely congratulate you with the way you have stabilised your country and with the small contributions Nigeria was able to make through out those difficult times that you went through.
“And also thank you very much on the way you are handling ECOWAS responsibility.
“We have one or two countries that I believe we will discuss when we go to Senegal today, tomorrow and maybe on Wednesday, in terms of peace and security.’’
In her remarks, the Liberian leader who is also the Chairperson of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS nations, said she was in Nigeria to be updated on the focus and challenges of the work of the ECOWAS Commission
According to her, the visit was also meant to enable her meet with the entities of ECOWAS, the Commission, the Parliament and the Courts in preparation for the forthcoming Summit of the Authority of the ECOWAS, slated for Abuja on December 17.
She stressed the need for leaders in the sub-region to continue to maintain peace and stability to achieve regional integration and economic prosperity.
Sirleaf said: “I’m glad once again to be back in Abuja. I’m using the opportunity of this visit to be updated on the focus and challenges of the work of the ECOWAS Commission, to meet with the entities of ECOWAS, the Commission, the Parliament and the Courts in preparation for the reports I will present at the Summit of the Authority, which will be held here in Abuja, on December 17.
“But I’m so grateful that while here, I reached out to the President and asked him for the opportunity to call on him to be able to brief him on some of the findings I have had in my two days of consultation with the commission.
“I also exchange with him some of the developments in our sub-region, political development; economic development, and to get his wise counsel on how we can ensure that we monitor the situation in all the West African countries so as to maintain peace and stability in all of our countries.’’