Mali’s West African neighbours have all agreed the country’s transitional government must be lead by civilian and last no longer than 12 months, Nigeria’s president, Mohammadu Buhari said on Friday.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held a summit on Friday to discuss Mali’s future and whether to lift sanctions on the country following last week’s ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Speaking after the meeting, Reuters reports that, President Buhari has charged the military junta in Mali to set an acceptable transition time table for a return to the democratic government since the country cannot afford to stand alone in the sub-region.
The president in his remarks, as reported by tribuneonlineng.com, said that from the briefings presented by the Special Envoy, former President Goodluck Jonathan, it was clear the regional body’s engagements with the new military leadership in Mali were yet to achieve the desired results in several key areas.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the Nigerian President, quoted Buhari as saying: “I am, however, personally happy to hear of the release from detention of the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is reported to be in good condition. The disposition of the new leadership to free the remaining senior officials is noted as this should contribute to the renewed sense of belonging to the Malian people.
“With regards to other areas being negotiated, Nigeria believes that the people of Mali and the military leaders need to appreciate the fragility of their country and the imminent danger which it poses to the citizens of Mali as well as the ECOWAS sub-region.
“For the people of Mali, specifically the leadership, embracing Democracy and Good Governance is crucial to the country’s political stability. Mali cannot, therefore, afford to stand alone, hence the need to come to terms with the realities of an acceptable and workable transition compact that inspires the confidence of all Malians.
“Meanwhile, I urge the military leadership to consider: the immediate release of all the remaining senior Government officials in detention, without pre-conditions; a transition process, to be completed in not more than 12 months, and which shall include the representatives of Malian stakeholders.
“This is a critical consideration for the new government to enjoy the cooperation and collaboration of regional and international community, and to allow the easing of sanctions imposed on Mali.’’