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Nigeria Open To Talks With Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Despite Coups — Tinubu



Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Coup Leaders

President Bola Tinubu stated on Saturday that despite recent coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and the Niger Republic, as well as their decision to leave the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria is still open to communication and mending relationships with these nations.

Speaking to African leaders during the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Tinubu bemoaned the military takeovers that have weakened democracy in some West African countries in a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

He did, however, reiterate Nigeria’s readiness to communicate in order to mend the divisions.

“The desire for a peaceful, powerful, and united West Africa is greater than any one individual or group of individuals,” he declared.

“The bonds of history, culture, commerce, geography, and brotherhood hold deep meaning for our people. Thus, out of the dust and fog of misunderstanding and acrimony, we must seize the chance to create a new people-centric era of trust and accord.

“To all who care to listen, I declare that if you come to the table to discuss important matters in good faith, you will find Nigeria and ECOWAS already sitting there waiting to greet you as the brother that you are,” President Tinubu said.

He also said Nigeria was ready to host the African Central Bank in line with the vision of the Abuja Treaty.

President Tinubu said his administration will engage the African Union (AU) Commission in collaboration with member-states to ensure that the bank takes off as scheduled in 2028.

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The President affirmed that Africa’s success in conclusively addressing its challenges hinges on the firmness of its resolution, built on a foundation of deep-rooted solidarity, if it is to avoid perpetuating existing problems and creating new ones.

“As a continent and as individual nations, we face strong headwinds and difficult hurdles threatening to complicate our mission to bring qualitative democratic governance and economic development to our people.

“Many of these obstacles, such as climate change and unfair patterns of global trade, are largely not of our making.

“However, some of the pitfalls, including coup-birthed autocracies and the deleterious tinkering with constitutional tenure provisions, are developmental cancers we as Africans are giving to ourselves,” he stated.

On education, which is the theme of this year’s AU summit, the President said education is the core ingredient in the process of evolving creative solutions to the unique challenges long confronting the continent.

“In helping to achieve the Agenda 2063 objective of a peaceful, united and prosperous Africa, I consider African education, not only in the narrow context of the benign use of science and technology to improve the material standards of our people, but also in the nuanced appreciation of the fact that Africa must also become better educated in the humane art of democratic practice, diplomacy, and conflict resolution without violence.

“This year’s theme encourages us to remodel our educational systems to fit these goals. In Nigeria, my administration is devoting ample resources to education at all levels.

“From redesigning our school feeding programmes and academic curricula to making ourselves an Information and Communication Technology hub, through which we shall bring more youths into the classroom and furnish them with the tools required to flourish in the global economy of the 21st century,” he said.

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The President used the occasion to extend invitation to the Africa Counter-Terrorism Summit scheduled to take place in April 2024, in Abuja, stating that the summit aims to expand discussions beyond military and law enforcement remedies to comprehensively tackle the root causes of violent extremism, such as poverty, inadequate political access, and the propagation of hateful ideologies.

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