As ECOWAS under Tinubu lifts Economic sanctions on Niger Mali and Burkina Faso

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As ECOWAS under Tinubu lifts Economic sanctions on Niger Mali and Burkina Faso
As ECOWAS under Tinubu lifts Economic sanctions on Niger Mali and Burkina Faso

By- Abba Hamisu Sani

Africa-Press – Nigeria. Niger , Mali, and Burkina Faso are three ECOWAS member countries taken over by military junta in recent years.

Military took over the Mali government in August 2020, While soldiers in Burkina Faso overthrew the democratic government in September 2022

In the Niger Republic also the soldiers sacked the democratically elected government in July 2023

This reason forces the authority of the Economic Community of West African States -ECOWAS to impose sanctions in the three countries.

Lifting the sanctions by ECOWAS

Omar Alieu Touray is the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He read the resolution taken at the summit

Omar said while the politically targeted sanctions on the Niger Republic remain, the regional bloc lifted some financial and economic sanctions on Guinea-Bissau and Mali Touray said the decision is based on humanitarian considerations especially because of the month of Lent and the approaching of Ramadan.

“Now, let me make it very clear that what I have listed is not exhaustive. Political sanctions have not been lifted. Border closures have been lifted. And commercial sanctions have been lifted. But there are targeted sanctions as well as political sanctions. that remains in force.

I think our sanctions regime should be assessed correctly

The list I have given relates mainly to Niger because all the other countries still have political sanctions on them.

So the border closures, the commercial sanctions, and all that are on leisure and that is what the leaders have decided to lift. But individual sanctions as well as political sanctions remain in place in Niger.

Now for other countries, political sanctions remain. That is the limited ability to attend ECOWAS summits as well as ministerial sessions.” the ECOWAS President stated .

The humanitarian purpose of lifting the sanctions

Earlier, President Bola Tinubu who is the chairman of ECOWAS asked for the lifting of sanctions on three member states

Ajuri Ngelale is the presidential spokesperson. He said Tinubu made the decision to lift the sanctions based on humanitarian considerations.

“Everything we did was in hopes of persuading our brothers that there existed a better path, a path that would lead to genuine improvement of their people’s welfare through democratic good governance. And this was a path each of our nations had solemnly agreed with one another under formal regional treaty and protocol,” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.

However, the sanctions that we contemplated might help lead our brothers to the negotiating table have become a harsh stumbling block. In my mind and heart, that which is hurtful yet ineffective serves no good purpose and should be abandoned.

“ECOWAS was established for the unassailable objective of improving the lives of the people of this region through fraternal cooperation among all member states. This edifice was cemented on the strong foundation and apt conviction that, united as one, we can be the true masters of our destiny,” he added.

Tinubu said ECOWAS took the steps it did based on the regional ideals of security, social stability, democratic governance, political freedom, broad-based prosperity, and sustainable economic development through fair opportunity for each and everyone in West Africa.

He said neither hatred nor hidden motive influenced the steps taken, adding that there was never any intention to douse or undermine the legitimate political aspirations of any member state or to advance the interests of any outside party.

In calling for the suspension of sanctions, Tinubu said: We must take note of the approach of the holy month of Ramadan and Lent.

Whether you pray in the mosque or the church, this represents a time for compassion, hope, and harmony. It is a time that we must not only seek God but also a closer relationship with brother and neighbor,

In the Spirit of the holy month and of the Lenten period, and with hearts bestirred by goodwill towards all our people, let us extend a hand as brothers and friends to those in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.

What I suggest in real and practical terms is that we, my colleagues and fellow heads of state in ECOWAS, indefinitely suspend economic sanctions against Niger, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso and against the leadership of the military authorities in those nations.”Tinubu said

The president asked that ECOWAS facilitate the unfettered flow of foodstuffs, medicines, and other humanitarian items to the people of these nations, especially to the most vulnerable.

He added that for Nigeria, this will also mean the prompt resumption of the export of electric power to Niger

In this vein, suspension of sanctions is an important but initial step. What we seek is more than the breaking of the diplomatic logjam. We must use this very moment when things seem tense and progress unavailing, to forge greater cooperation within our community.

“We not only reach out to our brothers. Today, we say unto them — let us begin to work more earnestly together for the economic development of our people and towards confronting those modern challenges that respect no borders or boundaries.

Challenges ranging from climate change to violent extremism to illegal pilfering of our precious natural resources require that we join together in progress or we fail separately.

As leaders of ECOWAS, we have accepted the honor and duty to draft the history of the region and its people during our tenure in office.

We have also accepted the honor and duty to reach out to our brothers, letting them know this regional home belongs to us all. I shall do my utmost in this regard. I humbly beseech that you do the same.

For these reasons, we must suspend sanctions and return to brotherly dialogue. I call on the leadership in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger to embrace the hand extended.” the ECOWAS chairman stated

To end this piece is to call for the regional block to give more priority to economic ties between themselves so that business transactions between the member states will be more beneficial to their citizens.

Also looking at the implications of the sanctions imposed on Niger,Mali,and Burkina Faso by the ECOWAS evidence shows that Nigeria as the largest economy in the region lost a lot as Nigerians exporting to such countries lost huge capital as these three countries were not producing anything.

So the body should be more tactical interns in dealing with such situations by looking at the real economic benefits between themselves instead of dancing to the tune of Western powers who only use African leaders to achieve their goals

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