Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has canvassed the support of the international community towards the stand of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against illegal take over of government in the continent.
Speaking in Abuja while playing audience to a delegation from the Network of African Parliamentarians for Defence and Security Committees who are in Nigeria for the group’s 7th extra-ordinary session, Osinbajo emphasized the stand of leaders in the continent on the choice of democratic governance as against military juntas and urged international organizations to join ECOWAS and the African Union in rejecting coups in Africa.
According to him “I think the work that you are doing is one that is very important indeed. We have seen insurgencies in the Sahel, in our part of the country and the whole of Africa. Since 2017, (more than) 12 coups in Africa, that is terrible, especially when we thought that we have recovered from the era of coups deta’t, all of a sudden, we find a rash of coups deta’t here and there.
“But I am glad that the sub-regional response here in West Africa, and the AU have been strong, forthright, united and we have all condemned coups deta’t and have taken positive actions against coups deta’t. We have introduced sanctions, we have reached out to other international organizations, to countries in the global north, we have insisted that they must join us in saying no to coups and undemocratic governments. And I think that your work has given a lot of fillip to the work that the executive all over the continent are doing.”
The Vice President also stated that defence collaboration and information sharing among African countries must be accorded priority because security is not only local, but an international issue that transcends regional and sub-regional borders.
He said“not only do we recognize that security is a local issue, but it is also an international issue, it affects all of us and our borders, in West Africa, for instance, all our borders, indeed all of Africa.
“The network is one that has also demonstrated the importance of defence and security on the continent. I think that it is more so because we realize that a fundamental issue to the existence of our countries is security.”
Osinbajo further said “if we do no secure our people and our territories, that means we (those of us in elective positions) have failed our people. It is important indeed that this network exists in Africa. I am especially excited that a network such as this exists because those of us in the executive arm see the challenges every day, the different challenges that are posed to us and posed to our countries and our continent.”
Earlier in his remarks, the outgoing President-General of the network, and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Sha’aban Sharadan, said the group was at the State House, Abuja, on a solidarity visit to acquaint President Buhari of activities marking its seventh extra-ordinary session and the investiture of its incoming executives.
He thanked Osinbajo for his personal commitment and support for the Network, and the Federal Government for supporting its activities, especially in coordinating the activities of parliamentary defence and security committees across the continent.
On his part, the second Vice President of the network, Hon. Jimmy Smith, a Liberian parliamentarian, also thanked the Vice President for always identifying with the group, especially in carrying out its activities.
He paid glowing tributes to Nigeria, particularly for ensuring peace and stability in Liberia and other parts of Africa, noting that “I tell you, we (Liberia) owe everything to Nigeria, Africa cannot succeed especially in security without Nigeria. Thank you for what you continue to do for Africa.”
Hon. Smith commended the government and people of Nigeria for maintaining the peace during the conduct of the Presidential elections, noting that “we see what is going on today with over 94 million people going to the polls to vote, we acknowledge the challenges and we hope that you have a peaceful transition.”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja