By Lizzy Okoji
President Muhammadu Buhari has told African leaders to promote the implementation of arms control instruments and embargoes, to complement and consolidate African Peace and Security Architecture.
Buhari made the call at the 14th extra-ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) on “Silencing the Gun”, held virtually on Sunday.
“The major challenge for Africa today is achieving a new trajectory of peace, security, stability and a conflict-free Africa, following threats of terrorist activities and other crimes across the continent.
He said the increasing number of peace agreements and their ongoing operationalisation in conflict situations around the continent demonstrated a resolve to chart a new course.
Buhari said the assembly was encouraged by Africa’s efforts in the implementation of the AU’s roadmap and the theme of this year, even in the midst of COVID-19.
The president noted that numerous challenges still abound in Africa, “the reason the assembly is calling for endorsement for the extension period of the implementation of the AU master roadmap and amnesty month beyond 2020.
“There will be immediate need to have the monitoring and evaluation mechanism put in place to gauge the implementation at the continental level.
“We are beginning to equally see emerging intra/inter-state resurgence of conflicts in Africa, underscoring the imperative for the AU Mediation Support Unit to be strengthened.
“Our member states are ensuring inclusive democratic governance, constitutionalism and facilitating access for AU mediators when necessary will also complement these efforts.
“Threats of terrorist activities, other trans-organised crimes and external interference in the internal affairs of African States are increasing.
“We also see maritime security threats, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the challenges of porous border are also visible.
“It is in this regard that we blame the slow implementation of the African Common Defence Policy, hinged on the establishment of the African Standby Force,’’ Buhari said.
According to him, constant and adequate coordination between the Regional Economic Communities and the AU should be encouraged.