AU Summit: Nigeria yet to decide on Elective Position

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama has said that Nigeria may not be fielding any candidates in the various vacant positions in the African Union when the body meets next week at its 27th Ordinary session to elect new members that would lead them for the next two years.

Onyeama made this disclosure yesterday while briefing journalists on the level of preparation for the 2016 African Union Summit.
The summit which has as its theme: African Year of Human Rights, with particular focus on Women’s Rights’ is scheduled for the 16th to 18th July 11, 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.

While noting that the nation has not taking a final decision whether she would field candidates or not, the minister disclosed that Nigeria had initial plan to sponsor candidate for the peace and security commission currently occupied by Algeria, which according to him was vying for the position of the chair but had to withdrew following Algeria’s decision to retain her position.

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Onyeama however stated that if the call for the postponement of the election till next year succeeds then Nigeria may catch in on the opportunity to field a candidate.

Apart from the election of members into various positions other issues the summit would look at include the issue of human rights in the country as well as the full integration of the continent through the establishment of Free Trade Area and the African Union passport.

Onyeama stated that,“The occasion would permit Nigeria the opportunity to showcase the successes recorded by this current administration in the area of human rights enthronement.

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Geoffrey Onyeama
He said “as part of measures at enthroning human rights in the country particularly in the Northeast, the administration as taking steps to de-militarize the zone as well as investigating and punishing reported cases of abuse. Onyeama added that the government has also embedded the principle of human rights both in the military as well as the judiciary.

While commending some African countries that have introduce punitive measures to culprits of early child marriage, he said Nigeria has increased its funding towards girl child education as wells slots to women in politics, adding that with the education of the girl child and the various empowerment programmes for women, it would address the issue of child marriage in the country.

On the economic front the minister said with the formal adoption of the AU’s passport which would be issued to Heads of States and Governments of the African Union at the summit, a major step towards trade liberalization in Africa has been achieved.

Onyeama who observed that 10 percent of trade in Africa is Intra-Africa i.e trade among African countries, argued that with the AU passport coming into operation it would be easier for member countries to do business with each other.

Onyeama said while the introduction of the AU passport would allow freer movement of people along the continent and by extension the movement of arms to fuel violence, the minister emphasized that with the conscious efforts of member countries particularly in intelligence gathering and stringent border policing the challenge of arms proliferation can be easily curtailed.

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He emphasized that Africa’s integration is a win-win situation for all members, noting that Nigeria stands to benefit a lot from the situation as it provides access to trade and a large market for the nation’s manufacturers.

The summit is also expected to fine tune modalities for pushing its quest for two slots in the United Nations Security Council as well as a critical appraisal of the projects under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).


According to Onyeama the Nigeria-Algeria gas pipeline is a major project of NEPAD that the summit would be given attention this year.

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