By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari and five other concerned West African leaders have called for an immediate roadmap to pave the way for negotiations between the Togolese government led by President Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema and the opposition movement.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by Senior Special Assistant on medians publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, the urgent demand by the leaders came at a meeting to discuss the situation in Togo, which ended early yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on the sidelines of the African Union-European Union Summit.
Presidents of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic and Guinea Conakry, attended the meeting with President Eyadema of Togo.
The West African leaders asked the parties in Togo to urgently negotiate, without ‘‘any preconditions’’, and resolve the impasse in the interest of the well-being of the country and the region at large.
Recall that President Eyadema had given himself a deadline of Friday to provide the basis and framework for negotiations in response to the increasing list of demands put together by the opposition movement seeking to oust him from power after 12 years as President.
His late predecessor and father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, was the President of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005.
In a related development, the Nigerian leader also had a separate bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where the issue of stemming the tide of illegal migration of Nigerians to Europe took the front burner.
The two leaders agreed to strengthen legal migration and made a commitment to expand discussions on how to stem the tide of illegal migration.
On security, Buhari told the German Chancellor that his government’s commitment to the security of lives and property in Nigeria remained absolute.
Reaffirming the nexus between security and job creation in Nigeria, the President said prompt attention is being given to the gainful employment of youths in Nigeria through education and the acquisition of skills and vocational training.
He said Nigeria and Germany can draw from the experiences to cooperate effectively in the area of investing in youths for a sustainable future.
In her remarks, the German Chancellor appreciated the strides made by the Buhari administration in revamping the economy and promised to increase support for Nigeria in dealing with terrorism.
Merkel said 58 German companies are operating in Nigeria, adding that more companies have indicated interest to invest in the energy, manufacturing, agriculture and construction sectors.