President Muhammadu Buhari, his Algeria and South Africa counterparts and the prime minister of Ethiopia under the auspices of the “G4” have resolved to strengthen the platform for resolution of the various issues confronting the African continent.
At a meeting on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium ahead of the 6th EU-AU Summit taking place in the country, the four African leaders discussed crisis areas on the continent with a view to coming up with practical and effective solutions.
President Buhari and his colleagues stressed the need to reinvigorate the G4 within the African Union (AU) as a platform for bringing African countries closer, coordinate actions and reactions for the whole continent in a more proactive manner and look at how decisions in the AU could be better implemented.
They also agreed to convene a formal summit to chart a road map for Africa in the coming months.
The G4 Platform, an initiative of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, was set up towards discussing and proffering solutions to challenges facing Africa as well as aggregating positions to ensure that the African Union carries its work forward successfully, efficiently and promptly.
Buhari also held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman who renewed his country’s trust in the Nigerian leader and Nigeria as the most important country in ECOWAS as well as one of Africa’s greatest.
He expressed the readiness of his country to revitalise the joint commission mechanism between the two countries to enhance the qualitative relationship.
The Czech leader specifically expressed interest and desire for more robust collaboration and partnership in military cooperation and especially in equipment to assist Nigeria to enhance her security capabilities.
President Zeman, who informed that the Czech Republic would assume the Presidency of the European Union (EU) in July, expressed similar readiness to partner with Nigeria in agriculture and health sectors and has decided to convene a pre-assumption of EU Presidency consultative meeting, to help set early agenda for her Presidency.
He invited Nigeria’s Minister of Health to attend the consultative meeting of highly respected countries in Prague in May 2022 even as he invited President Buhari to visit his country in the course of 2022.
While President Buhari accepted in principle the two invitations, assuring that the proposals would be considered through appropriate diplomatic channels, he directed the Minister of Health of Nigeria to attend the meeting in May.
In his contribution to the roundtable discussion on Peace, Security and Governance at the EU-AU Summit, Buhari called on European leaders as partners in promoting democracy and good governance to lend their weight behind measures put in place by the AU to stem the tide of unconstitutional leadership changes rearing its head again on the continent.
“Through enhanced collaboration with our development partners, especially the European Union, we can identify areas of cooperation for quick and substantive results,” he said.
President Buhari stressed the need to nip in the bud the root causes of extremism, conflicts and tensions in Africa.
“Africa has continued to witness different waves of violent extremism, community-based conflicts and inter-ethnic tensions, notably in rural areas. For many decades, our continent has been deprived of political stability and socio-economic development due to terrorism and violent extremism.
“More worrisome is the current state of democracy on the continent, which has become a great source of concern to many of us, with increasing cases of unconstitutional change of governments across the continent, particularly in West Africa. This is in addition to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The African Union has often responded to these challenges through its different structures, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture.
“As leaders and policymakers, it is important for our partnership to place priority on tackling the root causes of conflicts in Africa, as well as taking measures in safeguarding peace and security if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063.
“We also call for stronger support from the European Union in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments, as well as manipulation of constitutions in favour of extension of term limits,” he said.(The Guardian)