Nigeria Open For Engagement With Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger (FG)

It is with regret that the Nigerian federal government has learned of the announcement by the Nigeran military leadership that Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have all decided to leave ECOWAS.

Francisca Omayuli, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Monday that Nigeria is still open to dialogue with the three countries.

For fifty years, ECOWAS has been an advocate for democratic rule, economic growth, and peace in the West African region. In a joint statement with ECOWAS, Nigeria reaffirmed its support for the right to a fair trial and its dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of all members.

In an effort to address the current challenges, Nigeria has made genuine and sincere efforts to communicate with all ECOWAS members. Those who want to leave the group clearly don’t feel the same way.

“Instead, leaders who aren’t elected use public relations to limit their citizens’ ability to freely move around, trade with one another, and pick their own leaders.

“Nigeria is willing to cooperate with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to ensure that the entire region’s population can keep reaping the economic rewards and democratic principles that ECOWAS upholds.”

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger’s military governments said on Sunday that they are leaving the West African grouping ECOWAS immediately because it poses a threat to its members.

The heads of state of the three Sahel countries declared in a joint statement that they had made a “sovereign choice” to leave ECOWAS “without delay.”

Following the coups in Niger in July 2018, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Mali in 2020, the administrations in these three countries have been dealing with poverty and Islamist violence while maintaining strained relations with ECOWAS.

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Niger and Mali, two of the three original members of the bloc that formed in 1975, were subject to severe sanctions and a suspension from ECOWAS because the group pushed for the reinstatement of civilian administrations through elections.

They “have opted to take their destiny in hand” (referring to the coups that removed civilian administrations) and the sanctions were a “irrational and inappropriate position” during that time.

With the formation of the “Alliance of Sahel States,” the three countries have strengthened their stances in the past few months.

Under “the influence of foreign forces, betraying its founding values, the 15-member ECOWAS has become a menace to member states and peoples,” the leaders further stated in their joint statement.

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