Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders join members of the Peace and Security Council (PSC), a standing organ of the Africa Union (AU) for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, to discuss peace and security on the continent.
The meeting came ahead of Sunday’s opening of the 30th African Union Summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The meeting discussed the persistence of violent conflicts and crisis situations in some parts of the continent, upsurge of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, climate change and its consequences as well as the issue of the derailment of national development programmes, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The meeting essentially reviewed the situations in Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It also discussed the situation in Lake Chad Basin, the regional efforts to combat Boko Haram as well as the situation in Mali and the Sahel region which continues to be a source of deep concern despite efforts by the countries of the region and the United Nations.
The PSC’s major duty is to “conduct early warning and preventive diplomacy, facilitate peace-making, establish peace-support operations and, in certain circumstances, recommend intervention in Member States to promote peace, security and stability.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari will on Monday unveil a new logo on anti-corruption as part of activities meant to launch a continent wide campaign against the ills of corruption.
Following his endorsement to champion the fight against corruption on the continental level at the 29th summit held last year, Buhari is also expected to address regional leaders on strategies for winning the fight against corruption and its sustainability.
The theme for this year’s AU summit centres on “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.
The Presidential Media Aide told reporters in Addis Ababa, that the summit is significant for the federal government because it puts Nigeria on the spotlight of the continent as a country with vast experience in the anti-graft war.
Beyond corruption, delegates attending the summit would also be brainstorming on ways of implementing single air transportation system, free movement on the continent, free trade, climate change, security among other issues bedeviling the continent.
Commenting on the theme, Shehu said,”The theme for this year’s summit is essentially on corruption. The AU has chosen the theme of winning the fight against corruption as a sustainable launch pad for Africa and its transformation.
“So, it important for President Muhammadu Buhari that he has been chosen as the champion for this theme.
“What that tells you is that the whole continent is looking at the good work that our President is doing, pushing back and fighting corruption effectively and the rest of the continent will say let’s look at what Nigeria is doing and wants to share the Nigerian experience.
“The President has come well prepared. He has the role of flagging off the continent’s wide war against corruption. So, he is going to set the tone and as well unveil the logo. So it is a big thing for our country”.
On Buhari’s other engagements on the side line of the summit, Shehu said,”there are a lot of bilateral side meetings that are still being discussed but you know in addition to the theme of the conference, there are many issues that are of continental significance.
“Issues of single air transportation system for Africa, free movement on the continent, free trade on the continent, issues of climate change, security and all of the flash points, Lake Chad is very important for us, the Sahel crisis and all of these acts of terror flowing from Libya, Somalia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo. So, they have their plate full and it is going to be deeply and highly engaging for them.
“We are looking forward to perhaps one of the busiest summit ever in the African Union”.
President Buhari was endorsed in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.
On July 25, 2017, the President had in a letter written to President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also the out-going AU Chairperson, formally accepted his nomination to lead members of the AU on this crucial crusade against a veritable socio-economic vice that is anti-development.
Those on the President’s delegation are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.