Nigerian experts differ on Gbagbo's arrest

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - International affairs experts in Nigeria as well as the government and regional bloc ECOWAS have reacted differently to the arrest of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo.

Dr. Fred Agwu, a Senior Research Fellow at the think tank Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), based in the commercial city of Lagos, said France should not have been involved in arresting Gbagbo.

“It is a question of your perception. From my own point of view, what has happened is unfortunate. Because we all know the reputation of the French when it comes to the principles of humanitarian needs. We all remember the situation in Sierra Leone when it was boiling and there was an urgent need for humanitarian action, but the French never did that,'' Agwu told PANA in an exclusive interview.

“You can see the swiftness (with which) they have entered and captured Gbagbo. The issue is that it was the Security Council Resolution 1975 that created that entry points. But when that happened it should be the UN action, it shouldn’t be the action of the French. I think there was a better way of solving that problem, which they did not fully explore,” Agwu said.

But the Nigerian government welcomed the French intervention and urged the internationally acclaimed winner of last November presidential re-run, Alassane Ouattara, to work towards  rebuilding the country, which has been deeply polarised by the post-election conflict.

Also commenting on Monday's arrest of Gbagbo, a former lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, in South west Nigeria, Mr. Niyi Fasanmi, expressed support for the French action and called for Gbagbo's prosecution.

He said other sit-tight leaders must learn a lesson from what is happening in Cote d’Ivoire.

“The French action is welcome, given the fact that various diplomatic options had been rejected by Gbagbo. He lost an election but refused to hand over to the true winner. That is rather unfortunate.

''What has happened should serve as lesson to other sit-tight leaders in Africa. Gbagbo should be made to face trial for the killings of innocent Ivorians, who defied his tyrannical rule,” Fasanmi said.

The political analyst said the task before President Ouattara is to embark on reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the West African country.

In the meantime, ECOWAS, which took the lead in resolving the Ivorian crisis, has expressed concern on the fate of Gbagbo in captivity.

In a statement issued in Abuja, ECOWAS Commission President James Victor Gbeho called on President Ouattara to ensure that the former Ivorian leader, “is accorded the dignity and rights due to him as a former Head of State”.
-0- PANA SB/SEG 13April2011

13 avril 2011 13:22:03

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