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Tinubu to Bassirou Faye: We must unite to defeat terrorism, human trafficking in West Africa

President Bola Tinubu says countries in West Africa must unite to defeat the scourge of terrorism, human trafficking, and poverty in the region.

Tinubu spoke in Abuja on Thursday during a meeting with Bassirou Faye, Senegal’s president.

He urged leaders in the region to make the people the focal point of governance, noting that the essence of democracy is lost when citizens are not enjoying dividends.

The president emphasised that democratic values and constitutional order are sacrosanct and must be protected.

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He added that critical institutions like the judiciary must be respected and obeyed for the sustenance of democracy.

“Constitutional democracy is what Senegal proved to the rest of the world and Africa. It is a joy to have you here and to meet the hope and aspiration of our youths. You fit in perfectly well,” Tinubu said.

“A critical time it is in the history of constitutional democracy, particularly in West Africa. What you have embarked upon, a struggle couched in freedom, is remarkable.”

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The president described Nigeria and Senegal as brotherly nations, recounting both countries’ long history of cooperation.

“We are brothers. We have shared an interest in democracy. To make democracy sustainable in the interest of our people, we definitely must work hard,” he added.

“I am glad that you are a shining example of patience, perseverance, and commitment to democratic values.

“We must partner to make our people the focus of our democratic commitment. Your belief in the sovereignty of Africa is shared by all of us.

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“But how can we work for our people and make them the focus of our democracy if we are violating the rule of law and promoting an unconstitutional takeover of government?

“As the chairman of ECOWAS, I am inviting you to collaborate and meet those other brothers. To persuade them to come back to the fold.

“We will continue to work together. We share good backgrounds, and we will continue to embrace and promote democratic governance.

“We must be able to partner and build the freedom we believe in – in economic growth, development, and other spheres of governance. It is left for us to provide assurance to our people and walk our talk.

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“We must defeat human trafficking; we must defeat terrorism, banditry, and poverty in our society. That must be our focus and commitment.”

Speaking during the meeting, Faye acknowledged Nigeria and Senegal’s shared values and challenges, noting that both nations have always had good relations since the 1960s.

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“The good relations we have and the relations between our private sectors should be beneficial to our countries,” he said.

The Senegalese president called for the reactivation of the Nigeria-Senegal joint commission to strengthen bilateral relations across the areas of diplomacy, trade, and other spheres.

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On ECOWAS, Faye said with Tinubu’s wisdom and experience, relations among member states can be strengthened for the advancement of the community.

“ECOWAS is the beacon of successful regional integration in Africa and globally. It is something we owe to the founding fathers of the community,” Faye said.

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“I have no doubt that you want to continue this legacy of integration. The union is going through a rough patch, but not everything is lost.

“I know I can rely on your wisdom and experience, as the leader of this great African nation.

“Your wisdom and your democratic values should be an asset to that vision, and my youth and determination can also be an asset.

“If we come together, with all these assets and advantages, I am convinced we can open a window of opportunity to discuss.

“United, we are stronger. Faced with common challenges, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and all other challenges, we need to show resolve to confront these challenges so that economically we can thrive and satisfy the wishes of our people.”

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