President Muhammadu Buhari has called on European leaders as partners in promoting democracy and good governance to back measures put in place by the African Union to stem the tide of unconstitutional leadership changes in Africa.

The President made the call Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, in his contribution to the roundtable discussion on Peace, Security and Governance at the ongoing 6th EU-AU Summit.

President Buhari further underscored the need to nip the root causes of extremism, conflicts and tensions in Africa at inception.

“Africa has continued to witness different waves of violent extremism, community-based conflicts and inter-ethnic tensions, notably in rural areas.

“For many decades, our continent has been deprived of political stability and socio-economic development due to terrorism and violent extremism.

“More worrisome is the current state of democracy on the continent, which has become a great source of concern to many of us, with increasing cases of unconstitutional change of governments across the continent, particularly in West Africa. This is in addition to the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

“The African Union has often responded to these challenges through its different structures, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture.

“Through enhanced collaboration with our development partners, especially the European Union, we can identify areas of cooperation for quick and substantive results.

“As leaders and policymakers, it is important for our partnership to place priority on tackling the root causes of conflicts in Africa, as well as taking measures in safeguarding peace and security if we are to achieve the African Union Agenda 2063.

“We also call for stronger support from the European Union in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments, as well as manipulation of constitutions in favour of extension of term limits,” he said.

The President, in a statement issued Friday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, added that it was imperative to ensure that election processes in Africa have outcomes that truly reflect the wishes of the electorate, as to go contrary to these is courting instability.

According to him, “we have a responsibility to reduce conflicts that stem from lack of good governance, unaccountability, corruption and social exclusion.

“Free, fair, credible and transparent elections remain crucial elements in ensuring peace and security and promoting constitutional order, democracy and inclusive governance on the continent.

“It is therefore imperative for our partnership to also focus on strengthening election processes in Africa and prevent interference to influence the process and outcomes of elections.”

He called for all hands to be on deck to ensure that Africa’s Blue Economy Agenda for development is realized.

According to him, “I must emphasize the importance of expanding regional and international cooperation on ocean governance, on the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as on maritime security, including piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime crimes and threats as reflected in the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy.”