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Monday, April 22, 2024

Nigeria Reacts To Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso’s Withdrawal From ECOWAS



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By  Mohammed Suleiman, Dutse
THE Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed sadness over the pronouncement by the Military authority in the Republic of Niger indicating that the Republics of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have withdrawn membership of their countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli, said Nigeria remained opened for engagement with the three countries.
“For half a century, ECOWAS has worked to promote peace, prosperity and democracy in the region. Nigeria stands with ECOWAS to emphasise due process and shared commitment to protect and strengthen the rights and welfare of all citizens of Member States,” the statement partly read.
“Nigeria has worked sincerely and in good faith to reach out to all members of the ECOWAS family to resolve the difficulties being faced. It is now clear that those seeking to quit the Community do not share that same good faith.
“Instead, unelected leaders engage in a public posturing to deny their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices over their freedom of movement, freedom to trade and freedom to choose their own leaders.
“Nigeria remains open for engagement with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger so that all the people of the region can continue to enjoy the economic benefits and democratic values that ECOWAS embraces.”
On Sunday, the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced their immediate withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS, saying it has become a threat to member states.
The leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave ECOWAS “without delay”.
Struggling with insurgents and poverty, the regimes have had tense ties with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger last July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020.
All three — founding members of the bloc in 1975 — were suspended from ECOWAS with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions as the bloc tried to push for the early return of civilian governments with elections.
The sanctions were an “irrational and unacceptable posture” at a time when the three “have decided to take their destiny in hand” — a reference to the coups that removed civilian administrations.
The three nations have hardened their positions in recent months and joined forces in an “Alliance of Sahel States”.
The leaders’ joint statement added that 15-member ECOWAS, “under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to member states and peoples”.

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