Tinubu arrives Guinea-Bissau, visits Nigerian troops

President Bola Tinubu, on Saturday in Guinea-Bissau, said Nigeria is committed to preserving peace and upholding democratic stability in West Africa.

“I am here to show solidarity with you. I want to assure you we are committed to supporting peace and democracy not only in West Africa but around the world,” Tinubu told Nigerian troops stationed in Guinea-Bissau under the ECOWAS Stabilisation Force.

The President’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, revealed this in a statement he signed late Saturday, titled ‘President Tinubu arrives Guinea-Bissau for ECOWAS summit, visits Nigerian troops.’

The President, who arrived in the capital city of Bissau ahead of Sunday’s Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, said he is counting on the troops to defend the country’s constitutional order.

The PUNCH reported that President Umaro Embaló of Guinea-Bissau survived a coup attempt on February 1, 2022.

A five-hour gunfight broke out between security forces and armed attackers who tried to break into a government palace where Embaló and members of his cabinet were reportedly meeting.

After the incident, the president revealed that the attackers tried to kill him and his entire cabinet.

It is one of several takeovers or attempted takeovers of power that rocked West Africa since 2019.

Earlier, the governments in Mali, neighbouring Guinea and Burkina Faso had been toppled.

Speaking on Saturday, however, President Tinubu said Nigeria would maintain its oversight role in strengthening democracy as it did in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“Nigeria is a giant that has made its mark in Sierra Leone and Liberia and other places,” he said.

To the troops, Tinubu said, “We count on your support for the defence of constitutional order.

“I heard your allowances have been paid up to date. Nothing else should make you angry.

“We will continue to build a virile force.”

The Commander-in-Chief commended them saying “We are proud of you. Proud of your loyalty.

“Nigeria depends on you. There will be peace and progress in our country.”

He thanked the soldiers and their Commander, General Al-Hassan Grema, for their dedication and service to Nigeria and their host country.

On his part, Brigadier General Grema expressed the appreciation of the troops to President Tinubu for being the first Commander-in-Chief in Nigeria’s history to visit his soldiers on foreign soil.

Earlier, the President’s aircraft touched down at the International Airport in Bissau at precisely 5:30 pm local time ahead of the ECOWAS summit, his first engagement in an African State since assuming office on May 29, 2023.

The 16 regional leaders attending the summit are expected to address memoranda on five pressing sub-regional issues.

They include a Report of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council covering security challenges faced by the member countries, a Report of the 90th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers on the financial situation of the body and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Other matters slated for consideration are the Report on the status of Transition in the Republics of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, the Memoranda on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme and the Report on Obstacles to the Free Movement of Goods on the Abidjan- Lagos corridor.

While in Guinea-Bissau, the Nigerian leader is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings and other engagements on the sidelines of the summit.

On his entourage are National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu; Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Folashodun Shonubi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Kana; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Aliyu Ahmed, and ECOWAS Permanent Representative, Musa Nuhu.

Others include former Governors, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Senator Abu Ibrahim from Katsina State.

President Tinubu is expected back in the country on Monday.

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Author: Maxwell Dudu

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