The Federal Government has expressed its sadness over the pronouncement by the military authority in the Republic of Niger indicating that the Republics of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have withdrawn membership of their countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
In a statement on Monday by Francisca K. Omayuli, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government said for half a century, ECOWAS had worked to promote peace, prosperity and democracy in the region.
The military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger had on Sunday withdrawn from the ECOWAS “with immediate effect”. And yesterday, they simultaneously notified ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) and United Nations of their withdrawal from the regional economic bloc, citing concerns about ECOWAS’s divergence from its founding principles and influence from foreign powers.
However, the statement from the foreign affairs ministry, said: “Nigeria stands with ECOWAS to emphasise due process and shared commitment to protect and strengthen the rights and welfare of all citizens of Member States. Nigeria has worked sincerely and in good faith to reach out to all members of the ECOWAS family to resolve the difficulties being faced. It is now clear that those seeking to quit the Community do not share that same good faith,” said the statement.
The Federal Government accused the unelected leaders of denying their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices over their freedom of movement, freedom to trade and freedom to choose their leaders. Government however expressed its desire to engage with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger “so that all the people of the region can continue to enjoy the economic benefits and democratic values that ECOWAS embraces.”
Nigeria further appeals to the International Community to continue to extend its support for ECOWAS and the vision of closer partnership, cooperation and integration.
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