By Chioma Iruke
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take steps to prevent further Coup d’état within the region.
Osinbajo made the call while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at a virtual Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member-states on the developments in Guinea and Mali.
The meeting was attended by 10 of the ECOWAS leaders and others, including representatives from the United Nations.
On behalf of the government of Nigeria, Osinbajo condemned the coup, warning that President Alpha Conde’s ouster could seriously destabilize the Republic of Guinea.
“What happened in Guinea is a brazen disregard for the provisions of ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, which clearly states that every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent election,” Osinbajo said.
He said the unconstitutional seizure of power in any shape or form is simply unacceptable, adding that “four coups within the last few months is a dangerous trend indeed”.
“We are sliding back to the infamous 60s. Our zero-tolerance for coups is important but clearly insufficient. Are there further steps that we can take to prevent coups d’etat?
“Could we, for example, work out an understanding with the UN, AU, Commonwealth and possibly, even the development finance institutions we are a part of to act in unity to suspend a country where there has been a seizure of power from all these bodies simultaneously?” he added.
The VP noted that it was imperative that countries in the sub-region respect the provisions against unconstitutional ascension to power, and to apply it in all instances.
He called on ECOWAS to immediately invoke the provisions of Article 45 of the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance by suspending Guinea from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies and statutory meetings.
Osinajo said all necessary punitive measures must be taken to ensure that the military junta does not overstay in power.