Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed ''shock and sadness'' at the passing away of President John Evans Atta Mills Tuesday at the age of 68.
The ECOWAS Commission said in a statement made available to PANA here Wednesday that President Mills' death ''has robbed the region of a voice of wisdom which enriched the discussions of the affairs of the Community''.
The regional bloc said President Mills' demise came at a critical time in the democratic consolidation process of Ghana, where presidential elections are due at the end of the year.
''The Community wishes to condole the government and people of Ghana over this irreplaceable loss and urge them to rise up to the challenge of his death by rallying themselves to defend those cherished values that the late president represented and which he sought to introduce inculcate in his compatriots such as his love of peace,'' the statement said.
President Mills died Tuesday afternoon at a military hospital in Ghana's capital, Accra, where he was being treated after he took ill earlier in the day.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama has since been sworn in to serve out President Mills' remaining tenure, ahead of the 7 Dec. elections.
-0- PANA SEG 25July2012