As part of his regional familiarization tour following his appointment as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Leonardo Santos Simão, concluded today a five-day visit to Abuja, Nigeria.
During his visit, the Special Representative met with the President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), H. E. Omar Alieu Touray with whom he discussed the regional developments situation, particularly the situation in Niger and the transitional contexts arrangements in the Republic of Mali and Burkina-Faso. The two officials reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening ECOWAS-UNOWAS partnership to reinforce democratic governance and consolidate peace and security in the region.
In Abuja, the Special Representative participated in the 4th meeting of the Steering Committee of the Regional Strategy for Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of areas affected by the Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad Basin. In his remarks, Mr. Simão commended the invaluable efforts of member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission in addressing the multiple challenges in the region, and reiterated UNOWAS engagement, in collaboration with UNOCA and other UN entities, to advocate for continued political support of Lake Chad Basin countries.
The Special Representative also met with the Chairperson of the National Peace Committee, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Aboubakar who also doubles as the mediator in the Niger crisis. Exchanges focused on how both actors could jointly support ongoing efforts to address the situation in Niger.
The Special Representative, in his capacity as Chairman of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission (CNMC) held a meeting with the Director General of the National Boundary Commission to advance the work of the Commission. He also met with the UN country team and members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria where exchanges focused on developments in West Africa and the Sahel, including in particular the situation in Niger and its impact in the region as well as the need to find viable solutions and provide humanitarian assistance to populations affected by terrorism.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).