West Africa: Buhari Pledges Nigeria's Support for Consolidation of Democracy in West Africa

18 September 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday pledged that Nigeria would do its best to support efforts to consolidate democracy in West African countries within the limit of its resources.

The president has also signed the Nigeria Police Bill 2020 into law.

Speaking yesterday in the State House, Abuja, while receiving President Roch Kabore of Burkina Faso, who was on a day official visit to Nigeria, Buhari said he knew countries preparing for elections and Nigeria would give them the needed support.

"We are keeping tabs on situations in countries that have elections ahead. We know the countries that are calm and the ones where there have been unfortunate casualties.

"We will always support those who have elections ahead, so that things can go smoothly," Buhari said.

A statement by the president's spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Burkina Faso would hold legislative elections in November, this year.

It noted that Kabore, who is the Chairman of the Economic and Trade Liberalisation Scheme of ECOWAS, said he was in Nigeria to discuss crucial sub-regional issues with Buhari.

The Burkinabe president listed such issues to include: convening a joint commission meeting between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, trade difficulties among Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin and Niger Republic, and the way forward.

The statement added that Kabore commended Buhari for providing "strong leadership and support" in his capacity as Chairman of COVID-19 response in West Africa.

"I must also applaud your strong leadership against terrorism in the sub-region," Kabore said.

Adesina said Kabore also spoke on the situation in Mali and expressed optimism that the summit held in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday, would yield positive results that would guarantee cohesion across West Africa.

Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday signed the Nigeria Police Bill 2020 into law.

Adesina disclosed this in a separate statement titled: "President Buhari assents to Police Bill, 2020."

He said the president had in a memo dated September 16, 2020, communicated his assent to the bill to the National Assembly through the clerk of the legislature.

The statement read: "The Act repeals the Police Act Cap. P19. Laws of the Federation, 2004, and provides for a more effective and well organised Police Force, driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.

"Among others, the Act establishes an appropriate funding framework for the police in line with what is obtainable in other federal government key institutions, enhances professionalism in the Force through increased training opportunities, and creates enduring cooperation and partnership between the Police Force and communities in maintaining peace and combating crimes nationwide."

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