President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday leave for Bamako, Mali on a peace mission following the briefing by the ECOWAS Special Envoy to the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.
This is will be the first journey President Buhari would be embarking outside the country since the outbreak of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.
The President and some ECOWAS leaders led by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional organisation, President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, agreed to meet in Mali to engage in further consultations towards finding a political solution to the crisis in the country.
Other Presidents expected to participate in the Bamako meeting are the host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire.
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday briefed President Buhari on the unfolding situation in Mali, necessitating the visit of ECOWAS leaders to consolidate on the agreements reached by various parties.
After receiving a briefing from the former President, Buhari had said, “We will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to brief us as a group, and we will then know the way forward.” He thanked Jonathan for his comprehensive brief on the situation in Mali, “which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President.”
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the former President had filled in President Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali, rocked by protests against President Keita, who has spent two out of the five years the second term in office.
Mali’s protest movement against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has triggered a showdown with the government with unflinching demands that Keita resigns over perceived failures in tackling the dire economy and Mali’s eight-year jihadist conflict.
The rally is spearheaded by the main opposition party and has since turned violent and dramatically escalated the political crisis.
ECOWAS proposal in resolving the crisis is to request the President to form a unity government with the opposition party but the proposition was rejected by the protesters who insisted on the resignation of the President.