Urges leaders to stop deaths of migrants across Mediterranean
Lauds Jonathan on transition
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS — President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, briefed African leaders on his efforts towards combating the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s North-East even as he challenged them to collectively stop the sordid stories of migrants dying across the Mediterranean Sea.
In an address presented at the opening ceremony of the 25th ordinary session of the African Union, AU, Buhari also paid respect to former President Goodluck Jonathan for helping to avert a crisis in the country by facilitating a smooth transition in power.
Noting the challenge against his administration from Boko Haram and his efforts towards overcoming the threats by the group, he said: “Our continent is currently bedevilled by the twin evils of terrorism and insecurity, poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment.
“The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege.
“I was convinced on my assumption of office that the best approach would be to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, LCBC, to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram. I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action.
“Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the member states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts.”
Deaths of migrants across Mediterranean
Frowning at repeated episodes of African migrants across the Mediterranean Sea, he said: “The images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe are not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanise our persons. Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.
“Those of us gathered here today owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend. We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure.
“We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.
“In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities, RECs, to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realisation of their legitimate dreams and aspirations.
“At this juncture, let me assure you of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years. It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.
Lauds Jonathan on transition
Acknowledging Nigeria’s historic transition and the role played by his predecessor, he said: “The election was also held against the backdrop of the fears and concerns expressed both in Nigeria and among our international friends abroad and partners that the outcome of the election could spell doom for Nigeria. I am glad that even though those fears and concerns were not without basis, the outcome was totally different, to the relief of all of us.
“I cannot fail to acknowledge the very positive role played by my predecessor, H.E. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in averting the feared crisis, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power between the two parties.
“I also wish to express my deep appreciation to all who honoured us with their presence at my inauguration, and even those, who for unavoidable reasons were unable to attend.”