New ECOWAS chairman visits Nigeria

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

Togolese President and newly elected Chairman of ECOWAS, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe.

Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has received the Togolese President and newly elected Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa, ECOWAS, Mr. Faure Gnassingbe, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday assuring him of Nigeria’s support and the regional body.

Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Office of the Vice-president, Laolu Akande said this in a statement.

According to the statement, Professor Osinbajo told the visiting leader, “Nigeria will support you in every way and we are very happy with your election. I know that our President, President Buhari will give every measure of support required because he would want you to succeed very much”.

The Acting President said that the President Buhari administration was pleased that President Gnassingbe visited Nigeria almost immediately after his election as chairman of the regional body, assuring him that Nigeria will continue to play an active role in ECOWAS.

He told Togolese President that President Buhari holds him in high regard as a person and considers him a friend.

Professor Osinbajo pledged Nigeria’s full engagement and concern over regional issues.

He said Nigeria would continue to explore resolutions in partnership with other member-states.

The Acting President also welcomed continued consultations on the issue of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between ECOWAS and the European Union (EU) while observing also that each country had peculiar challenges.

The Acting President expressed the hope that the spirit of ECOWAS, which is the spirit of brotherhood, would be helpful in addressing some of the issues confronting the regional body.

The new ECOWAS leader said he came to hold consultations with Nigeria because the body considers Nigeria a very important player in the region.

According to him, Nigeria is an important player and “Nigeria has to be fully engaged’’ in ECOWAS”.

During the visit, President Gnassingbe highlighted a number of ECOWAS issues and challenges, including the European Partnership Agreement, being discussed by the regional body.

The Togolese President also said he would want the relationship between his country and Nigeria to remain very close.

Sammie Idika