President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja on Saturday to attend the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Sahel-Saharan Community (CEN-SAD) in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
In a statement in Abuja on Friday, Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity for the President, confirmed the movement.
Shehu said Buhari and other regional leaders would join, among others, their host and current CEN-SAD Conference Chairman, President Idriss Deby Itno, in deliberating on political and security issues.
The presidential assistant said regional leaders would also deliberate on the state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in the CEN-SAD area, including Boko Haram and refugees in particular.
He said the leaders would make a statement on the entry into force of the revised CEN-SAD Treaty aimed at quickly tracking the achievement of the body’s goals.
“Special awards will be given to heads of state and military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic and the Chad Lake Basin during the opening session of the Conference,” Shehu explained further.
Created by the Tripoli Treaty on February 4, 1998, Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001 with six founding members.
The group aims primarily at creating a free trade area in Africa as well as “reinforcing peace, security and stability, and achieving its members ‘ global economic and social development.”
Delegations from 22 member countries are expected at the CEN-SAD Extraordinary Meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena.
Sudan, a CEN – SAD member, may not be represented at the meeting following the country’s socio-political uncertainties caused by the Sudanese military’s removal of President Omar Al – Bashir from office on Thursday.