The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government yesterday rose from an emergency meeting with a resolve to engage with the coup leaders that recently seized power in Burkina Faso.
Already, the ECOWAS body has agreed to send military and diplomatic emissaries to Ouagadougou, the capital of the country, today to assess the situation.
This was disclosed to newsmen by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, after an emergency virtual meeting of the ECOWAS apex decision-making body, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari, was in support of the decisions taken.
According to him, Nigeria is fully in support of the ECOWAS demand for an immediate return to constitutional rule, release of the detained President Roch Marc Kabore and total cooperation with the regional body in the process of sorting out the current situation.
He said: “The position is, of course, we condemn the coup and ask for immediate return to constitutional order, the release of the President and anybody else who’s being detained and to cooperate with ECOWAS and to be part of ECOWAS decisions.”
On what President Buhari told the ECOWAS meeting, Onyema said: “He said he was in support of the decisions that were taken at this summit. They condemned the coup. They demanded immediate release of the President, who is being detained, and an immediate process of return to constitutional order.
“A decision that the Chiefs of Defense Staff of ECOWAS Member States should head tomorrow (today) to Burkina Faso to assess the situation from a strategic also military angle, and to be followed immediately by a visit of a team of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ECOWAS countries, again, to assess the situation and then report to a meeting of the Heads of States, and then a definitive decision will be taken as to how to proceed. ECOWAS is going to have to engage with the junta. Well, you have to.”
Asked what might happen if the demands were not met, the Minister said: “That’ll now be for the summit meeting, that’s what I was saying, to now take a definitive decision because they would have had the benefit of the input of the Chiefs of Defense Staff, the benefit of the input of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who would have gone there, and then they will be in a position to now take an informed and definitive decision.”