May 29, 2024

Germany hails Tinubu’s leadership role as ECOWAS chair

Germany hails Tinubu’s leadership role as ECOWAS chair

German Ambassador, Annett Gunther

Germany has extolled President Bola Tinubu’s leadership role as Chairman, Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), particularly his disposition against unconstitutional change of government by military coups.

German Ambassador to Nigeria Annett Gunther disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

She was speaking against the background of the one year anniversary of Tinubu’s leadership since May 29, 2023 when he assumed office as Nigeria’s president.

A coup d’etat was launched in the Republic of Niger on July 26, 2023, coming only a few months after the military take over of governments in Mali on May 24, 2021 and in Burkina Faso on January 23, 2022.

At the time the coup in Niger happened, it had become clear that a wave of military takeover of democratically elected governments was pervading the ECOWAS subregion.

ECOWAS wasted no time in saying that the trend was fuelling insecurity in West Africa.

To drive home the gravity of the insecurity to which military coups contributed from January 1 to October 23 2023, ECOWAS said, “In just Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, a total of 4.8 million people face food insecurity, 2.4 million people are internally-displaced, and close to 9,000 schools remain closed.

“From January to Nov. 30, 2023 the number of terrorist attacks in Burkina was 1,256; in Mali, 1,032, and in Niger 391.

“The figures in terms of casualties were 4,788 in Burkina Faso; 2,174 in Mali, and 606 in Niger.”

The German ambassador said, “Tinubu made it clear that ECOWAS will not tolerate such actions and I think that is the right approach.

“Democracy is a fundamental principle of ECOWAS and it is essential to uphold it.

“The fact that some countries resorted to military coup to gain power is deplorable, and we cannot accept it.”

She emphasised the need for ECOWAS to sustain peace-building and democracy by reintegrating the three  countries within its fold (after they announced they were leaving the bloc) and ensuring they return to constitutional systems.

“We have seen examples like Britain’s exit from the European Union and it is unclear if it was advantageous or not.

“The door is still open for them to return.

“I am told that behind-the-scenes efforts are being made to convince them to come back.

“As a European, I can attest to the benefits of a strong regional organisation.

“Peaceful and cooperative approach is the right way to tackle these issues and promote stability within the sub-region,” Gunther stated.