President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned leaders of countries in West Africa against extending the limits on their terms in office.

He stated this at the 57th ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) authority of heads of state and government in Niamey, Niger Republic, on Monday.

According to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, Buhari said actions aimed at extending tenure limits are capable of causing crisis in the affected countries.

“As leaders of our individual Member-States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region,” Buhari was quoted as saying.

“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”

In 2019, Charles Enya, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi state, had filed a suit, seeking the amendment of the constitution to allow Buhari get a third term in office.

However, speaking at a meeting of the APC national executive council (NEC) in November 2019, the president said he would not “make the mistake” of going against the law.

“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term,” Buhari had said.

“Besides age, I swore by the holy book that I would go by the constitution and the constitution said two terms. I know that I’m in my last term and I can afford to be reckless because I’m not going to ask for anybody’s vote.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has suspended Mali from the organisation over the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Keita, Mali’s president, and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by rebel soldiers on Tuesday after weeks of unrest.

The Malian president on Wednesday announced his resignation, saying his decision is to avoid bloodshed.

In a statement, ECOWAS asked all its members to close land and air borders to Mali.

It said sanctions will be meted out against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

“ECOWAS has noted with great concern the seizure of power by Malian military putschists,” the regional body said.

In June, opponents asked Keita, who had spent two out of his five-year second term in office, to step down.

A resistance group, M5, also insisted that the constitutional court must be dissolved before peace can return to the country.

The unrest was ticked off by the nullification of results of 31 parliamentary seats in the country’s elections and the awarding of victory to some candidates, which the resistance group said was at the behest of Keita.

On July 10, riots led to the killing of some protesters by security agents.

The Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments has urged Nigeria, Benin and Niger to quickly conclude its work in order to resolve all existing border issues.

This was made known in the final communiqué read by Mr Jean-Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission and made available to the media on Monday in Abuja.

The Authority tasked the Tripitite Ministerial Committee of the three countries to speed up negotiations.

On the free movement of persons and goods, ECOWAS reiterated the need for all Member States to fully implement the Protocol on Free Movement as it relates to the rights of entry, residence and establishment.

The Authority noted the challenges of the implementation of the protocol of Free Movement of Persons and Goods arising from the partial closure of the Nigerian land borders to goods.

Contained in the communiqué, the Heads of States and Government also encouraged the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with members to step up efforts for the implementation of regional infrastructure project.

This, they explained, was with a view to opening up some countries, ensuring seamless intra-community trade and improving security.

The Authority also took note of the request of support of Member States applying for positions in International and Regional organizations and vacancies reserved for ECOWAS Member States at the United Nations in 2020.

ECOWAS Heads of States and Government have adopted “EC” as symbol for the single currency, Eco, to be used in Nigerian and 14 other countries.

They also adopted “Central Bank of West Africa (CBWA)” as the name of the ECOWAS Central Bank.

These were contained in the final communiqué released by Mr Jean-Claude Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission on Monday in Abuja.

The Authority commended the Ministerial Committee for the progress made with the implementation of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.

The Authority also adopted the 2020 to 2024 Action Plan to eradicate terrorism in the sub-region with a budget of 2.3 billion dollars.

The leaders expressed grave concern at the resurgence of terrorist attacks, targeted at the defence, security forces, civilians and the social and economic structures and places of worship.

ECOWAS reaffirmed their determination to leave no stone unturned in eradicating terrorism in the region, expressing solidarity with the people and governments of affected Member States.

“The money is intended for the provision of equipment to support the defence forces of Member States, training of relevant bodies and effective intelligence sharing.

“The Authority instructs the President of the Commission to immediately set up an inclusive and transparent mechanism to manage funds mobilized for the implementation of the action plan.

“The Authority further instructs the President of the Commission to ensure the speedy disbursement of the resources mobilized in other to respond efficiently to the urgent situation.

“The Authority decides to focus efforts in 2020 and 2021, on the implementation of activities expected to quickly contribute in checking the increase and spread of terrorist attacks.

“The Authority urges international partners to provide substantial support for the implementation of the action plan.

“To this end, it instructs the President of the Commission to organise as soon as possible a donor conference to mobilise funds, in addition to the internal resources identified by the Authority.

“The Authority instructs the President to build strong partnerships with all stakeholders in counter terrorism in the region. The Partnership should be built on complimentary initiatives to avoid duplication of efforts,” the communiqué stated.

Chairman of Economic Community of West African States, Mahammadou Issoufou, has called on member states to take decisive steps in tackling terrorism in their countries.

Issoufou, who is also President of Niger Republic, made the appeal during the 56th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government in Abuja, Nigeria.

He said the West-African sub-region had been hard hit by terrorist attacks, which had intensified and had threatened many national and regional achievements and developments already made by member countries, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

“The creation of a common area of peace, security and economic integration is without the slightest doubt the key to the future of our region.

“Current regional and global developments in security constrains me to dwell on the security situation of our region.

“Our region has been hard hit by terrorist attacks every passing day, threatening the national and regional achievements we have made.

“We therefore hope that the prompt implementation of the recommendations of our extraordinary summit on terrorism held on September 14 in Ouagadougou will enable us to collectively meet this challenge, which appears to be an attack by faithless criminals on our dignity and sovereignty.

“The terrorist attacks continually test our commitment to fighting the scourge.

“It is therefore incumbent upon us to respond to all these attacks with firmness and determination,” Issoufou said.