Buhari Calls For Restoration Of Interim President, Premier Of B’Faso
• As AU Suspends Country, Slams Travel Ban And Asset Freeze On Junta Leaders • Speaker Declares Self President
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has called for the immediate and unconditional restoration of Burkina Faso’s Interim President, Michel Kafando, and Prime Minister, Isaac Zida, who were detained on Wednesday in an apparent coup, but released yesterday.
This is just as the African Union (AU) announced yesterday that it was suspending the country over the coup that has stopped preparations for its first democratic election.
In a statement by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina in Abuja, Buhari condemned the earlier detention of the two leading officials by the Presidential Guards, in collaboration with the elements loyal to the deposed president of the country, Blaise Compaore.
According to the statement: “Buhari and Nigeria align with the Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) in rejecting the brazen contravention of the constitution and transitional charter of Burkina Faso by elements of the Presidential Guard, under the leadership of General Gilbert Diendere.
“President Buhari and Nigeria urge the Defense and Security Forces of Burkina Faso to keep faith with the agreed transitional programme for the return of the country to full democratic rule after elections, which were due to be held in the country on October 11, in support of which Nigeria has donated 20 pick-up vans to the National Electoral Commission of Burkina Faso.”
While welcoming news of the release of Kafando, Buhari also demanded the immediate release of Zida and other detained ministers.
“Nigeria will give the fullest possible support to ongoing efforts by the ECOWAS mediatory team of President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic to quickly restore Burkina Faso to the path of order, democracy and constitutionalism.
“The President urges the people of Burkina Faso to remain calm and steadfast in support of the transitional order, elections and democratic governance with the full assurance that Nigeria, ECOWAS and the international community will uphold their right to peace, freedom, democracy and good governance,” the statement added.
Following a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, the 54-member pan-African bloc said the country was suspended “with immediate effect,” and slammed a travel ban and asset freeze on the junta leaders.
“The Council decided in accordance with the instrument we have in place to suspend Burkina Faso from all activities of the Union with immediate effect,” Uganda’s ambassador to the AU, Mull Katende, told reporters.
He also described the earlier kidnapping of the country’s interim leaders as a “terrorist” act, which should be “addressed a such by the entire international community.”
The AU Peace and Security Council also ordered all member states to impose a “travel ban and asset freeze on all members of the so-called National Committee for Democracy (NCD),” which declared the coup, and for a list of its leaders to be compiled and circulated, so that they can be officially condemned as “terrorist elements.”
In addition, AU, according to AFP, said it would consult with the West African Monetary Union “with the view to denying… the perpetrators access to the resources of the West African state’s central bank,” and urged “all bilateral and multilateral partners to suspend all military and security cooperation programmes, as well as economic cooperation programmes.”