After his successful participation at the summit on “A New Global Financing Pact” in Paris, France hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, President Bola Tinubu has arrived Bissau, capital of Republic of Guinea-Bissau, for the 63rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.
President Tinubu used the opportunity of the summit to visit the Nigerian contingent stationed in the country under the ECOWAS Stabilisation Force.
The 63rd Ordinary Session Summit, which will open on Sunday July 9, 2023, will be the first international engagement of the President within the African continent since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.
President Tinubu whose plane touched down at the International Airport in Bissau at exactly 5.30pm local time will be the centre of attraction at the summit.
The 16 regional leaders are expected to address memoranda on pressing sub-regional issues including Report of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council covering security challenges faced by the member countries, 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 by the leaders are the Report on the status of Transition in the Republics of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, Memoranda on the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme and the Report on Obstacles to Free Movement of Goods on the Abidjan- Lagos corridor.
In his address, the President expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the soldiers and their Commander, General Al-hassan Grema, for their dedication and service to Nigeria and their host country, adding that Nigeria would continue to support democracy in West Africa and around the world.
“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.
“Nigeria is a giant that has made its mark in Sierra Leone and Liberia and other places. 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.
“We are proud of you. We are proud of your loyalty, Nigeria depends on you, there will be peace and progress in our country,” President Tinubu said.
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 outside the shore of the country.
While in Guinea-Bissau, the Nigerian leader is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings and have other engagements on the sidelines of the summit.
On the entourage of the President on the trip are National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Folashodun Shonubi; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Ibrahim Lamuwa; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Ibrahim Kana; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Aliyu Ahmed, and ECOWAS Permanent Representative, Musa Nuhu.
Others on the entourage include former Governors Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Senator Abu Ibrahim from Katsina State.