President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed great surprise at how President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had been able to stabilize her country, Liberia.
Buhari, who commended the Liberian leader for handling the affairs of the ECOWAS diligently, did not fail to also laud her efforts in stabilizing her country.
“I have to very sincerely congratulate you with the way you have stabilized your country and with the small contributions Nigeria was able to make throughout those difficult times that you went through.
“And also thank you very much on the way you are handling ECOWAS responsibility. We have one or two countries that I believe we will discuss when we go to Senegal today, tomorrow and maybe on Wednesday, in terms of peace and security.’’
Buhari spoke at a joint press briefing today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with President Sirleaf, who was on a two-day visit to Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader challenged African leaders to ensure socio-political stability in their countries to achieve peace and speedy regional and sub-regional integration in the continent.
He said that though the situation in the ECOWAS sub-region is now relatively stable, but that there is the need to continue to persuade the leaders to pay more attention to security and development.
“The situation in our sub-region is relatively stable but there is the need for us to continue to persuade our colleagues to show appreciation of the efforts the sub-region is doing to make sure that we pay more attention to security and development.
“I have appreciated very much your efforts and I also congratulate you on your successes. I believe you may even go outside the region, to the African Union so that before the AU meeting we try and persuade the leadership of those countries in our sub-region to show more patience and accommodation with politics of their countries.”
This was even as President Sirleaf, who is also the Chairperson of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS nations, said that she was in Nigeria to be updated on the focus and challenges of the work of the ECOWAS Commission
She said that the visit is also meant to enable her meet with the entities of ECOWAS, the Commission, the Parliament and the Courts in preparation for the forthcoming Summit of the Authority of the ECOWAS, slated for Abuja on Dec. 17.
Sirleaf stressed the need for leaders in the sub-region to continue to maintain peace and stability to achieve regional integration and economic prosperity.
“I’m glad once again to be back in Abuja. I’m using the opportunity of this visit to be updated on the focus and challenges of the work of the ECOWAS Commission, to meet with the entities of ECOWAS, the Commission, the Parliament and the Courts in preparation for the reports I will present at the Summit of the Authority, which will be held here in Abuja, on Dec. 17.
“But, I’m so grateful that while here, I reached out to the President and asked him for the opportunity to call on him to be able to brief him on some of the findings I have had in my two days of consultation with the commission.
“I also exchanged with him some of the developments in our sub-region, political development; economic development, and to get his wise counsel on how we can ensure that we monitor the situation in all the West African countries so as to maintain peace and stability in all of our countries.”
The Liberian President arrived in Abuja yesterday, Sunday on a two-day official visit to Nigeria, and had visited the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja on the same day
The ECOWAS chairperson also held closed door meetings with the President of the commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and senior officials of the commission. [myad]