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Buhari commends ECOWAS secretariat for engaging EFCC; Meets AU Chairperson, cautions against evacuation of foreigners into Nigeria

By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday commended the leadership of the ECOWAS Commission for demanding accountability from its headquarters staff, which made it to invite Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into its books.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Buhari, Femi Adesina, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the President gave the commendation when he met with the President, ECOWAS Commission, Marcel A. De Souza in Abuja.
Buhari called for accountability and good neighbourliness in the sub-region and on the African continent.
“Thanks for being firm and for insisting on transparency and accountability at the ECOWAS headquarters,’’ he said, stressing that Nigeria would continue to fulfill its obligations to the sub-regional body.
Nigeria hosts the 52nd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Dec. 16.
Buhari said he expected a formal report on the situation in Guinea Bissau at the meeting.
“We need our troops back home and I hope the President of that country will accept a constitutional way to resolve the situation there.”
De Souza had earlier thanked Nigeria for accepting to host the 52nd Ordinary Session at short notice, adding that the impact of Nigeria was quite strong in the organisation.
“We are under financial pressure due to terrorist attacks in the sub-region, but Nigeria being out of recession, will have an impact on the entire region,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria was the highest contributor of troops to Guinea Bissau, but admitted that “the troops can’t be there endlessly”.
In another development, President Buhari has said that it is important to always authenticate the origin of people abroad in distress before evacuating them to Nigeria, saying “not every black man is a Nigerian.”
Mr. Adesina, said in another statement on Friday that Buhari made his position known at a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat at
the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, who spoke on recent repatriation of some Nigerians from Libya, said not every black man was a Nigerian, and that it was, therefore, important to authenticate the origin of the people in distress before they were evacuated.
He said “we are trying to bring as many people as possible from Libya. But not every black man is a Nigerian.
“Others claim to be Nigerian, when they are not, and because they have destroyed their travel papers, we can’t claim them, except there is proper documentation.”
The President, however, noted that good neighbourliness and relationship were important for security and economic development.
“That was why I visited all our neighbours. Such relationship is crucial for security, and economic development so our youths could get jobs,’’ he said.
On recharging of the Lake Chad, he said “the earlier we get it done, the better, so that our youths don’t continue to dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.’’
The AU Commission boss congratulated the President for what he was doing for Nigeria, and for Africa.
He said “without President Buhari, and without Nigeria, many things would not have been possible.
“I appreciate the role you played in my election, and all that you do in ECOWAS, Lake Chad Basin Commission, and the entire continent.
“We follow your battle against corruption, and it is not by chance that you have been chosen by other African leaders to champion the battle in 2018.
“Your commitment is notable, and I seek your support for reforms that we intend to introduce in AU. Your guidance is vital.’’
He stressed the need for Africa to always speak with one voice, stressing that “the voice of Nigeria is preponderant.’’
The Federal Government has already evacuated hundreds of thousands of voluntary returnees from Libya in the last three years.

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