By Raphael Oni
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government in an extraordinary summit have agreed to a 12 months transition period with the military Junta to restore democracy to Mali.
The Summit was said to have considered the report of the mission by the ECOWAS Mediator, in reaching its decision.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who joined the meeting in Abuja, charged the military junta in Mali to set an acceptable timetable for a return to democratic government since the country could not afford to stand-alone in the sub-region.
Buhari expressed his happiness with the release of the ousted Malian President. In his words, “I am, however, personally happy to hear of the release from detention of the former President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is reported to be in good condition.
The disposition of the new leadership to free the remaining senior officials is noted, as this should contribute to the renewed sense of belonging to the Malian people.” he said.
“With regards to other areas being negotiated, Nigeria believes that the people of Mali and the military leaders need to appreciate the fragility of their country and the imminent danger which it poses to the citizens of Mali as well as the ECOWAS sub-region,”
Highlights of the communique issued to the press called on the leadership of Mali to begin the process for a civilian transition in consultation with the Constitutional Court as well as all relevant parties and stakeholders stating that the transition period should not exceed twelve months.
The summit expresses its encouragement to the Malian people and reaffirms its commitment to help Mali emerge from this situation; while commending the Mediator and his team for the results achieved during their mission.