Africa is under siege, leaders should reverse trend, says Buhari at AU meeting



President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday that the crises in Africa present the continent as one under siege and called on its leaders to reverse the trend.

The President, who said this while addressing the AU summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that some of the greater challenges to peoples within this Union still lay in the political, economic, as well as peace and security spheres.

The speech was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

“Our continent is currently bedevilled by the evils of terrorism and insecurity; poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment.

“The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege,’’ Buhari said.

He also said the images in the international media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe “is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons.

“Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.”

Buhari said African leaders owed it as a duty to reverse the ugly trend by pursuing relentlessly measures that engender peace and stability.

“We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure.

“We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, and create more jobs.

“We must improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law,’’ he declared.

Accordingly, Buhari said leaders must persist in their collective endeavour to work together through the AU and the respective Regional Economic Communities, to uplift the continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations.

He assured of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the AU as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years.

“It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.

“We do so because we believe that African integration is best attained through the instrumentality of our RECs as the building blocs of viable continental institutions.

“Nigeria will therefore continue to play its part in supporting the AU Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour,’’ he added.

The President said the journey might look arduous, but certainly not impossible adding that opportunities existed in every challenge.

“If and when we adopt this call for a change of attitude, approach, and disposition towards agreed protocols and commitments, we shall be bequeathing a politically stable, economically developed, and socially harmonious Africa, thereby justifying the confidence reposed in us by our electorate.

“We will also demonstrate our qualities as statesmen and true daughters and sons of Africa.’’

Buhari said it was gratifying to note that AU had made laudable progress over the past one and a half decades since its transformation from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

He said the AU had been able to redirect its priorities at the continental level from mainly political goals to more diverse aspirations that were equally fundamental to its survival and development in a global community.

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