Togo: African Presidents Call for Caution as Pressure Persists
Opposition parties in Togo are still maintaining pressure on President Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema to resign. Thousands took to the streets once more ahead of promised talks with the president.
Leader of Togo National Alliance for Change (ANC), Jean-Pierre Fabre, led the crowds in the capital but similar protests were banned on security grounds in the north.
“Mobilization will continue, even during talks. We are not going to give up the fight,” Fabre told AFP.
However, Presidents Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Cote d’Ivoire conterpart, Alassane Ouattara, have called for caution, worrying that persistent crises in Togo may turn to a regional crisis.
Both leaders expressed the view during a bilateral meeting in Abidjan on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit.
“We must have a solution in Togo. The friends of the opposition and authorities must talk to them on the steps to jointly take to achieve stability. They must work towards gaining the trust of each other.
‘‘There will be regional consequences for instability in Togo and this will surely come at a cost to development,’’ President Buhari said in a statement by his media spokesman, Garba Shehu.
Many young people who had fled into the countryside fearing repercussions have not yet returned home, the source said, adding that sporadic arrests were still occurring.
Wednesday’s march was the first of three planned for this week to put pressure on Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe to resign.
VoA reported that Gnassingbe has been president of the West African nation since 2005, taking over after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years.
Fourteen opposition parties want two-term limits for presidents which would be applied retroactively to prevent Gnassingbe from contesting the 2020 and 2025 elections.
At least 16 people have been killed in three months of protests after opposition supporters clashed with police and security forces, especially in the north.
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, Mr. Shehu said, agreed to strengthen legal migration and made a commitment to expand discussions on how to stem the tide of illegal migration.
“On security, President Buhari told the German Chancellor that his government’s commitment to the security of lives and property in Nigeria remains absolute.
Reaffirming the nexus between security and job creation in Nigeria, President Buhari 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”, the statement read.