Jonathan Updates Buhari on Mali’s Political Crisis

President Muhammadu Buhari receives the former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE

•ECOWAS to discuss outstanding grey areas

By Omololu Ogunmade

Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is planning to converge again to discuss outstanding grey areas on Mali’s political issues.

This move, said to be at the behest of ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, was disclosed yesterday by President Muhammadu Buhari when he received ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali and former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in the State House.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, recalled that Mali’s military junta had appointed a civilian as an interim president who will run the country’s affairs for 18 months.

The interim president has the mandate to restore Mali to constitutional democracy, after a military intervention which ousted former President Ibrahim Keita, in accordance with the demand of West African leaders before sanctions already imposed on the country could be lifted.

The statement added: “However, according to the Special Envoy, the military leaders are yet to satisfy ECOWAS’ demand of a full civilian as vice president, and what his roles would be in government.

“That position is currently being held by a serving military officer, who was also one of the leaders of the take-over.

“President Buhari counselled the Special Envoy to present a formal report to the new ECOWAS Chairman, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, ‘who will then write us officially, and we then determine the next steps.’

“The President said with about two-thirds of Mali currently under occupation by terrorists, ‘the priority of the military should be to secure their country,’ rather than hold on to power.”