ECOWAS to meet on Guinea and Niger concerns

West African trade group ECOWAS called yesterday for a summit of heads of state this week to seek ways to resolve political conflicts in Guinea and Niger, which Nigeria’s president warned could destabilise the region.
Nigeria’s leader Umaru Yar’Adua said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would meet on Thursday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to discuss the two issues, Reuters reports.
“The actions of the military leaders in Guinea are contrary to all agreements reached, while my brother in Niger has continued to take steps which are sending wrong signals to the whole world,” said Yar’Adua, who also holds the rotating chairmanship of ECOWAS.
“We have shed too much blood and lost so much materially, in the fight for democracy, and therefore cannot afford any more conflicts,” he added.
International pressure has increased for Guinea’s military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara to step down after coming to power in a bloodless coup last December.
Analysts doubt Camara will last out the year, let alone cling on to power until a presidential poll due on January 31.
In Niger, President Mamadou Tandja has faced widespread criticism for changing the uranium-rich nation’s constitution in August to extend his term in office and give himself broader powers under a fully presidential government.

Pic: President Umaru Yar Adua of Nigeria