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FG, Obasanjo condemn Ivorian soldiers’ protest, sue for peace

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Olalekan Adetayo and Samuel Awoyinfa

The Federal Government and former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday condemned recent developments in Cote d’Ivoire in which a fraction of the country’s Armed Forces led a mutiny against the government.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the acting President, Mr Laolu Akande, Nigeria expressed unflinching support for the government of President Alassane Ouattara and welcomed ongoing efforts at resolving the crisis.

The statement read in part, “The Federal Government urges the parties to the crisis to exercise maximum restraint; remain calm and continue with dialogue and negotiations with the government of President Ouattara.

“Nigeria also urges the mutineers to return to their barracks and to refrain from any action capable of undermining the peace, security and democracy in the country.

“The Federal Government further urges the people of Cote d’Ivoire to remain steadfast in their support for the government and to refrain from giving support to the mutineers in the overall interest of peace, tranquility, good order and prosperity of the country.”

Also, Obasanjo expressed concern over soldiers’ protest in Cote d’Ivoire over wage and bonus.

The West African country is currently facing mass protest by her soldiers over wage and bonus dispute.

The soldiers had broken out of their barracks and embarked on shootings and threats to civilians over wage and bonus dispute.

This was contained in a statement signed by Obasanjo in Abeokuta, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent on Wednesday.

The former president, who described the protest as unwholesome, appealed to the protesting soldiers to embrace dialogue and allow the government to look into their complaints.

He noted that though they were entitled to their wages and bonuses, they must act within the code of good conduct and military discipline.

He said, “I believe most of us in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, have been worried and felt concerned about the stand-off and unwholesome situation in the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire where disgruntled Ivoirian soldiers broke out of their barracks and embarked on sporadic shootings and threats to civilian lives over a wage and bonus dispute.

“While, as a former comrade of those soldiers, I would wish that they have their required bonuses and enhanced wages but as military men, they must act within the code of good conduct and military discipline.

“I appeal to the disgruntled soldiers to peacefully return to their barracks and await the Ivoirian Government’s consideration of their complaints and demands.

“Collectively and individually, our countries in West Africa make peace for development, growth and progress and nothing must be done to reverse the progress so far made by the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire under President Alassane Ouattara.”

Obasanjo, however, urged the government of Cote d’Ivoire to speedily attend to the complaints of the agitated soldiers to bring the country back to normalcy.

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