President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja met behind closed door with the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Embalo.
Speaking to State House correspondents through an interpreter after the meeting, Embalo said he was in Abuja to deliver President Jose Vaz’s message to Buhari, requeting him to pay an official visit to Guinea-Bissau.
According to him, he used the opportunity of the visit to brief the Nigerian leader on the socio-political development in that country.
“We should not forget that Nigeria leads the Contact-Group for Guinea-Bissau and of course also because of the weight of Nigeria in the comity of nations and that is why I’m here to inform Mr President of development in that country.
“And also to thank Mr President because the time when almost everybody abandoned us it was Nigeria that remained with us and supported us, assisted us until today when we have started to have stability in the country.
“We are here to develop further relations between the two countries not only in the context of South-South Co-operation, in the context of ECOWAS but also bilaterally between the two countries.
“And it is in that context that my President asked me to ask President Buhari to also come and visit Guinea-Bissau because Nigeria is our privileged partner. So that is why I’m here,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Guinea-Bissau has been in the throes of a power struggle since August 2015, following the removal of the then Prime Minister, Domingos Pereira by the country’s President Jose Vaz.
Vaz replaced Pereira with 44-year-old Embalo, a former military general that has served in previous administrations in the country.
NAN also recalls that ECOWAS leaders at their just concluded 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja, took note of the political misunderstanding in Guinea-Bissau.
They reaffirmed their deep concern over the protracted political and institutional crisis due to the inability of political stakeholders to reach a lasting and consensual solution.
The ECOWAS leaders also stressed that the crisis undermined the implementation of commitments made by development partners since March 2015, to support the economic and social re-construction of the country.
The leaders also commended Guinea Conakry’s President Prof. Alpha Condé for the excellent mediation efforts which led to the signing of the Conakry Accord by the political parties on Oct. 14, 2016, in Conakry.
The Conakry Accord is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the protracted political crisis in Guinea-Bissau.
The sub-regional leaders, therefore, reaffirmed that the “Conakry Accord remains the only framework for the attainment of a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Guinea Bissau’’.
They urged Vaz to comply with the provisions of the Conakry Accord and called on all parties to strictly respect and comply with the tenets of the Accord.
The ECOWAS Authority directed the Commission to provide the necessary technical support required for the implementation of Conakry Accord.
The ECOWAS leaders also commended the non-interference of the Army in the political crisis and strongly urged it to continue in like manner.