Buhari Receives Briefing on Mali Crisis from Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan

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SWITZERLAND, JULY 21 – President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with former President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the end of the meeting which started around a few minutes after 11am, the Presidency issued a statement indicating that the meeting centred on the crisis on Mali for which the Economic Community of West African States saddled Jonathan with the responsibility of restoring peace.

The statement titled, “President Buhari receives briefing from ex-President Jonathan, to confer with other ECOWAS leaders on Mali crisis”, was signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

Adesina indicated in the statement that Buhari will be consulting with his colleagues from the sub-region on the briefing he received from Jonathan.

The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari will consult with key leaders of ECOWAS countries in order to find a solution to the crisis rocking Republic of Mali.

“The President made the pledge Tuesday while receiving reports from ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The former President was at State House, Abuja, in company with the President of ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.

“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,” President Buhari said.

The President also thanked Dr. Jonathan for his comprehensive briefing on the situation in Mali “which you had been abreast with since when you were the sitting Nigerian President.”

Adesina said the former President had briefed Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore peace to Mali, rocked by protests against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has spent two out of the five years of his second term in office.

He added, “A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the Constitutional Court must be dissolved, and the President resign before peace can return to the country.”

“Crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.

“Riots on July 10 had led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.”

The presidential spokesman also quoted Jonathan as ruling out the option of asking an elected President to resign.

“ECOWAS can’t preside over the removal of an elected President. Not even the African Union or the United Nations can do it.

“Leaders must be elected and leave under constitutional processes, otherwise we would have Banana republics all over the place,” Adesina quoted Jonathan as telling Buhari during his briefing.

The statement added, “The former President thanked President Buhari for providing a Presidential jet for the mission, ‘thus making our trips convenient and comfortable,’ and he equally expressed appreciation for the Itakpe-Warri railway complex named after him last weekend.

“’It was a big present for me. Thank you very much,’ he said.”

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