In order to end coups in West Africa, the Economic Community of West Africa States Council of Wise (ECOWAS COW), yesterday, started a two-day retreat and workshop in Lagos.
The workshop aims, among other things, to create modalities for operationalization of the council and for members and the ECOWAS Commission to collectively develop and verify a one-year plan of action.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Chairman of ECOWAS COW and former President of Nigeria, in his welcome speech, noted that the meeting would debate and brainstorm on strategies for the COW to quickly respond to and mitigate growing peace and security challenges in the region.
“We will spend the next two days on this task of hammering out an effective strategy and agenda for promoting peace, security and stability in our sub-region,” he said.
Jonathan said that the sub-region is experiencing unsavory developments that have continued to pose a threat to peace, security and sustainable development.
He noted: “Within the last two years, we have witnessed three military coups in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, as well as coup attempts in Niger and Guinea-Bissau.”
He cautioned that the development poses a serious challenge to democracy in ECOWAS, particularly at a time when relentless onslaught by militants and terrorists across the Sahel and frontline countries has ruined the security situation in the sub-region.
Speaking on Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, the former President foretell that the outcome would be credible, stating that there would be no crisis after the polls.
He said that elections which often implode the country will not be the case. He said many parents who sent their children abroad, fearing a conflict after the 2015 election, were disappointed. According to him, the polls will come and go but Nigeria will stay.
MEANWHILE, the United Kingdom (UK), yesterday, approved an agreement with the Nigerian government, which will enable payment of £210,610 compensation to Nigeria, subsequent to a successful investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office on corruption in the oil and gas sector.
The memorandum of understanding, signed between Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, and Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, spells out terms and understanding between both countries for the payment.
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During the ceremony, which was held at the residence of the UK ambassador to Nigeria in Abuja, Ford said: “The Security and Defense Dialogue held in February 2022 between our two countries reaffirmed both the UK and Nigeria’s commitment to work together to tackle illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption.
“The UK has a zero-tolerance policy to corruption and we hope that today’s signing sends a clear statement about our commitment to this.
The money was received through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), which is when a prosecutor agrees to defer prosecution in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements such as accepting criminal liability for offenses and paying appropriate compensation.
She noted that the compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria shows that when such acts of crime are identified, the UK SFO will investigate these companies and, where evidence is found, ensure they face appropriate penalties.