President Tinubu Calls for West African Unity to Combat Terrorism and Promote Democratic Values

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made a compelling appeal for unity among West African countries to address and overcome terrorism, human trafficking, banditry, and other pervasive criminal activities in the region. Speaking at the State House in Abuja during a meeting with President Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal, President Tinubu emphasized the importance of prioritizing the welfare of the people in governance.

Highlighting the urgent need for a unified front, President Tinubu called for a shared purpose and coordinated efforts among West African nations to effectively tackle the region’s pressing challenges. “We must defeat human trafficking; we must defeat terrorism, banditry, and poverty in our society. That must be our focus and commitment,” he stated emphatically.

The Nigerian leader stressed that the core of democracy is lost if the people are not at the center of governance. He underscored the significance of upholding democratic governance, values, and constitutional order, which he described as sacrosanct. “Constitutional democracy is what Senegal proved to the rest of the world and Africa. It is a joy to have you here; to meet the hope and aspiration of our youths. You fit in perfectly well,” President Tinubu noted.

Reflecting on the historical ties and cooperation between Nigeria and Senegal, President Tinubu expressed the necessity of hard work to sustain democracy for the benefit of the people. “We are brothers. We have shared interest in democracy. To make democracy sustainable in the interest of our people, we definitely must work hard. I am glad that you are a shining example of patience, perseverance, and commitment to democratic values,” he remarked.

He called for a collaborative effort to ensure that democratic commitment remains people-focused. “Your belief in the sovereignty of Africa is shared by all of us. But how can we work for our people and make them the focus of our democracy if we are violating the rule of law and promoting an unconstitutional takeover of government?” he questioned.

As Chairman of ECOWAS, President Tinubu urged President Faye to engage with Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali—countries currently under military rule—to reintegrate them into the ECOWAS community. “As the Chairman of ECOWAS, I am inviting you to collaborate and meet those other brothers. To persuade them to come back to the fold,” he implored.

President Tinubu reiterated the importance of partnership in promoting democratic governance and fostering economic growth and development. “We will continue to work together. We share good backgrounds and we will continue to embrace and promote democratic governance. We must be able to partner and build the freedom we believe in—in economic growth, development, and other spheres of governance. It is left for us to provide assurance to our people and walk our talk,” he said.

In his remarks, President Faye acknowledged the longstanding good relations between Nigeria and Senegal, emphasizing their shared values and challenges since the 1960s. “The good relations we have and the relations between our private sectors should be beneficial to our countries,” he stated.

President Faye also called for the reactivation of the Nigeria-Senegal joint commission to enhance bilateral relations in diplomacy, trade, and other areas. Speaking on ECOWAS, he expressed confidence in President Tinubu’s ability to strengthen relations among member states. “ECOWAS is the beacon of successful regional integration in Africa and globally. It is something we owe to the founding fathers of the community, and I do not doubt that you want to continue this legacy of integration. The union is going through a rough patch, but not everything is lost,” he remarked.

President Faye emphasized the importance of leveraging their combined wisdom and determination to bring about positive change. “I know I can rely on your wisdom and experience, as the leader of this great African nation, and the more recent example of Senegal; so that together, hand in hand, we can grow, and that we can discuss with our brothers and convince them to come back into the fold. To come back and share our common democratic values and what we stand for,” he said.

He concluded by highlighting the strength that comes from unity in facing common challenges such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling. “United, we are stronger. Faced with common challenges, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and all other challenges, we need to show resolve to confront these challenges so that economically we can thrive and satisfy the wishes of our people,” President Faye declared.

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