ECOWAS Takes A Stand: Sanctions, Demands For Niger Junta’s Immediate Reversal

Heads of State and Government from ECOWAS convened in Abuja on Sunday to address the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger. They emphatically called for the immediate release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum as the legitimate Head of State and Government. ECOWAS, the African Union, and the international community all recognized President Bazoum as the only legitimate leader, rejecting any notion of his resignation.

The leaders strongly condemned the attempted overthrow of constitutional order in Niger and the illegal detention of President Bazoum, along with his family and government officials. They viewed his detention as a hostage situation, holding those responsible for the coup fully accountable for his safety and the safety of his family and government.

Should ECOWAS’ demands not be met within seven days, the leaders warned that decisive action would be taken to restore constitutional order, even considering the use of force. The Chiefs of Defence staff of ECOWAS were immediately instructed to convene in response.

In response to the coup attempt, the Summit implemented immediate sanctions on Niger. These included the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, establishing a no-fly zone for all commercial flights to and from Niger, and suspending all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger.

Furthermore, assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Bank, as well as state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks, will be frozen. Niger will also face suspension from all financial assistance and transactions with financial institutions within ECOWAS.

The military officials involved in the coup attempt, along with their families, and civilians participating in any government or institution established by these officials, will face travel bans and asset freezes.

President Bola Tinubu, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, expressed gratitude to fellow leaders, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel for their active engagement and valuable contributions during the Summit.

President Tinubu emphasized the commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity, stressing that the challenges faced by Niger are interconnected with broader regional issues. He called for African unity and solidarity, with a shared responsibility to foster stability and progress, prioritizing the well-being of the people.

Before the Summit, President Tinubu held bilateral meetings with President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau, President Mahmat Iddris Deby Itno of Chad, and Michael Health, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of African Affairs. Several other African leaders attended the Summit or were represented by their countries.

Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President, expressed gratitude to all participants for their engagement and commitment to upholding democracy and the rule of law, rejecting coup attempts, and striving for Africa’s prosperity and freedom.

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