Nigeria Criticizes Military-Led Nations Exiting ECOWAS


ABUJA, Jan 29 – Nigeria, the current chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), expressed disappointment on Monday over the decision of unelected military authorities in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to exit the regional alliance.

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In its first response to the joint announcement made on Sunday by the junta-led countries, Nigeria characterized the move as a letdown to the people of these nations. The decision to immediately withdraw from ECOWAS, a nearly 50-year-old regional alliance, was a collective one by the military authorities.

The Nigerian foreign ministry issued a statement, asserting that the leaders seeking to leave ECOWAS were not acting in good faith. The statement accused these unelected leaders of engaging in public posturing that denies their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices regarding freedom of movement, trade, and the selection of their leaders.

ECOWAS has refrained from commenting on this development, which could further weaken the bloc as it grapples with a democratic retreat in the West African region.

Mali and Niger officially communicated their decision to exit ECOWAS to the ECOWAS Commission through written notices dated on Monday, as seen by Reuters. Nigeria expressed its continued willingness to engage in dialogue with the departing nations.

The simultaneous joint statement broadcasted on national television channels by the three countries marks a setback for ECOWAS’s regional integration efforts. The bloc faces challenges in maintaining its influence as it navigates the complexities of political transitions in the West African region.

Bisi Adele
Bisi Adele
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