By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River is expected to join Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari as he departs for Togo Sunday morning for two high level meetings.
The meetings are the joint ECOWAS/ECCAS Summit which will deliberate on common security threats to countries in West Africa and members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); a meeting on a single currency for ECOWAS with the deadline of 2020 and the 53rd Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government a statement signed by a media aide to the President, Garba Shehu said.
Being the largest economy not only in West Africa but also on the continent, Nigeria’s leadership role in this sub-regional aspiration cannot be overemphasised Aso Rock said adding that “the two high-level meetings are aimed at forging concerted strategies in tackling the menace of terrorism, trans-border crimes and other forms of violent extremism.”
President Buhari will on arrival, “have an interactive session at the Nigerian embassy with the Nigerian community based in Togo,” Aso Rock said.
He further stated that the session will be dominated by the political and security situations in Guinea Bissau, Mali and Togo; institutional reforms of the ECOWAS Commission to enhance its effectiveness; illegal migration of Africans to Europe; and the worrisome violent clashes between herders and farmers, among other issues.
At the end of the session, a new Chair of the ECOWAS Authority is expected to take over from the incumbent and host.
Ayade who skipped attending an event awarding him as the south south’s best performing Governor on health, departed Calabar for Abuja on Friday aboard an Air Peace flight with only about half a dozen principal aides.
Alongside Mr. Ayade, the President will be accompanied by Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau as well as the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno; the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin; the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, are also in the President’s delegation.
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