New Telegraph

Hardship: Gowon Urges ECOWAS To Lift Sanctions On Mali, B’Faso, Niger

General Yakubu Gowon, a former Head of State and one of the ECOWAS’ founding fathers has urged the regional bloc to withdraw the sanctions placed against Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Niger Republic.

Gowon made an appeal on Wednesday to the presidents of state and the member nations of ECOWAS in an open letter sighted by New Telegraph.

It would be recalled that the main political and regional body in West Africa, ECOWAS, was established in 1975 to encourage economic integration among its member nations.

However, in recent years, the organisation has had difficulty undoing a wave of military coups in the area, which included those in Mali in 2020 and 2021, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Niger in 2023.

During a press conference in Abuja, Gowon delivered the letter to Omar Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission. Gowon expressed concern that the announcement by Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Niger Republic to leave ECOWAS poses a threat to the bloc’s unity and has significant implications for common citizens.

Following a military coup in Niger in 2023, the eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union and the fifteen members of the bloc (barring the four suspended members, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger) decided to freeze the country’s assets in foreign banks, close all borders against it, and halt financial transactions.

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NEW TELEGRAPH recalls that on January 28, 2023, the military chiefs of the three nations Captain Ibrahim Traoré of Burkina Faso, Col. Assimi Goita of Mali, and Brig. Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani of the Niger Republic announced the creation of the Alliance of Sahel States and their withdrawal from ECOWAS.

Gowon said: “It saddens me to learn that ECOWAS is threatened with disunity following the announcement by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, three important member states, of their intention to leave the community.

“The impact of such a decision will have far-reaching implications for the ordinary citizens who have been the major beneficiaries of regional integration.

“Therefore, on behalf of all the founding fathers of the community and myself, I urge the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, including the leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, to put aside their differences and reunite for the peace, stability and prosperity of our sub-region.

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