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Buhari Shakes Off COVID-19 Threat, Departs To Mali

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Jude Johnson

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday depart for Bamako, Republic of Mali, on a one-day visit.

This will be the president’s first trip out of the country after Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case on February 27.

The president’s last known trip abroad was on February 7 when he travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 33rd ordinary session of heads of state and government of the African Union.

In a statement on  Wedenesday, Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said the trip to Mali follows the briefing of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, special envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Mali.

Jonathan was appointed by the ECOWAS to lead its mediation team to help resolve the socio-political tension Mali.

Jonathan had visited Buhari on Tuesday and had filled in the president on his activities as special envoy to restore amity to Mali.

“The Nigerian President and some ECOWAS leaders led by the chairman of the authority of heads of state and government of the sub-regional organisation, President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, agreed to meet in Mali to engage in further consultations towards finding a political solution to the crisis in the country,” the statement said.

“Host President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire are expected to participate in the Bamako meeting.

“Jonathan was at the statehouse in company of Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of ECOWAS commission, on Tuesday to brief  Buhari on the unfolding situation in Mali, necessitating the visit of ECOWAS leaders to consolidate on the agreements reached by various parties.”

There is currently an uprising against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, who has spent two out of the five years second term in office.

A resistance group, M5, is insisting that the constitutional court must be dissolved, and the president resign, before peace can return to the country.

The crisis had erupted after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of Keita.

On July 10, riots led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, hence the intervention of ECOWAS.


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