By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari will Thursday depart for Bamako, the Republic of Mali on a one-day visit, following the briefing by the ECOWAS Special Envoy to the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
This is will be the first journey President Buhari would be embarking outside the country since the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.
The President and some ECOWAS leaders led by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional organisation, President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, agreed to meet in Mali to engage in further consultations towards finding a political solution to the crisis in the country.
Other Presidents expected to participate in the Bamako meeting are the host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Former President Jonathan was at the State House in the company of President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, on Tuesday to brief President Buhari on the unfolding situation in Mali, necessitating the visit of ECOWAS leaders to consolidate on the agreements reached by various parties.
After receiving a briefing from the former President, Buhari had said, “We will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to brief us as a group, and we will then know the way forward.”
He thanked Jonathan for his comprehensive brief on the situation in Mali, “which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President.”
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, the former President had filled in President Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali, rocked by protests against President Keita, who has spent two out of the five years the second term in office.
A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign before peace can return to the country.
A crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.
Riots on July 10 had led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.