President Muhammadu Buhari has called on European leaders to support African Union measures aimed at ending unconstitutional leadership changes on the continent.

“We also call for stronger support from the EU in the condemnation and imposition of weighty sanctions on countries that engage in unconstitutional change of governments.

“We equally seek the EU’s condemnation of manipulation of Constitutions in favour of extension of term limits,” he said at a roundtable discussion on Peace, Security and Governance at the on-going 6th EU-AU summit in Brussels.

The president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, stated in Abuja on Friday that Buhari described the European leaders as partners in promoting democracy and good governance.

He equally stressed the need to nip the root causes of extremism, conflicts and tensions in Africa in the bud, Shehu stated.

“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,’’ Shehu quoted Buhari as saying.

He added that the Nigerian leader laid particular emphasis on increasing cases of unconstitutional change of governments in West Africa,’’

“The African Union has often responded to these challenges through 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 substantial results,’’ Buhari also said.

He argued that as leaders and policymakers, it was important for the partners to place priority on tackling the root causes of conflicts in Africa.

He said it was also important to take measures to safeguard peace and security if Africa would attain its African Union Agenda 2063.

According to him, it is imperative to ensure that election processes in Africa have outcomes that truly reflect the wishes of the electorate, as to go contrary to this, is courting instability.

“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 processes and outcomes of elections,’’ he told the summit.

According to Shehu, the Nigerian leader also called for the concretisation and transformation of promises of cooperation made by EU leaders into actions.

“I underscore the need to convert our pledges on political cooperation in the area of peace, security and conflict prevention into concrete initiatives.

“Such initiatives are needed in joint field missions, shared understanding and analysis on crisis situations, as well as joint early action and swift implementation of agreed positions.

“The movement and operation of terrorists and violent extremist groups along the Sahel could better be addressed through an improved Continental Early Warning Mechanism.

“Consequently, we believe there is a clear need to strengthen our cooperation on security with the EU, particularly through improved intelligence sharing and acquisition of military equipment and hardware.

“We invite the EU to upscale its support for the G5 Sahel and the Multinational Joint Taskforce in the Lake Chad Region.

“This is required as we strive to further degrade Boko Haram insurgents and their Islamic State in the West Africa Province counterparts.

“Africa also looks up to Europe for enhanced support in combating illicit financial flows and terrorism funding that aid the activities of terrorists and violent extremist groups,’’ Buhari stressed.

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

Africa’s “Blue Economy’’ is made of vast lakes and rivers and an extensive ocean resource base.

The Blue Economy can play a major role in Africa’s structural transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development.

The largest sectors of the current African aquatic and ocean-based economy are fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, ports, coastal mining, and energy.

“I must emphasise 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.

“These including piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime crimes and threats as reflected in the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy,” Buhari stressed.