By Godson Ikiebey-
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Saturday, April 13, 2019 for N’Djamena, Chad, to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).
This was confirmed in Abuja on Friday, April 12, 2019 by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant on media and publicity to President Buhari.
According to Shehu, President Buhari and other regional leaders would join President Idriss Deby, current chairperson of CEN-SAD Conference, to deliberate on political and security issues, among others.
He also said that the regional leaders would deliberate on state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in CEN-SAD area, especially Boko Haram and refugees.
Shehu said that the leaders would make a declaration on the entry into force of CEN-SAD revised treaty intended to fast track the realisation of the objectives of the body. Shehu said:
“During the opening Session of the Conference, special Awards will be given to heads of state and military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Lake Chad Basin”.
Created by the Treaty of Tripoli on February 4, 1998, with six founding members, Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001.
The group seeks mainly to create a free trade area in Africa as well as to “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members”.
Delegations from 22 member-countries are expected at the extraordinary meeting of CEN-SAD holding at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena.
Sudan, which is a member of CEN-SAD, may not be represented at the meeting following socio-political uncertainties in the country caused by the removal of President Omar Al-Bashir from office by the Sudanese military on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said Al-Bashir had earlier indicated interest to attend the CEN-SAD meeting holding from Friday, April 12, 2019 to Saturday.