Nigeria blasts Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger over ECOWAS exit

Nigeria blasts Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger over ECOWAS exit
Courtesy image

Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have severed ties with the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a move that drew strong criticism from Nigeria, the largest member of the bloc.

The decision to exit Ecowas was announced by the three states, already under suspension due to recent coups, citing dissatisfaction with Ecowas' alleged ties to external influences and its perceived failure to address jihadist violence in the region. These military-led governments have distanced themselves from France, strengthening alliances with Russia and forming the Alliance of Sahel States in September to prioritize mutual defense.

Nigeria, expressing disappointment, accused Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger of betraying their citizens by relinquishing the benefits of Ecowas, which guarantees visa-free travel and the right to settlement and work in member countries.

The Nigerian foreign ministry criticized the military leaders, asserting they deny their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices.

“Unelected leaders engage in a public posturing to deny their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices over their freedom of movement, freedom to trade and freedom to choose their own leaders," it said.

The withdrawal of these founding Ecowas members, dating back nearly 50 years, raises concerns about regional stability. Ecowas had previously called for the return to civilian rule in the wake of coups in Niger (July), Burkina Faso (2022), and Mali (2020).

The departure could have far-reaching consequences, impacting visa arrangements and economic partnerships within the region.

As global powers, including Russia, intensify efforts to extend their influence in Africa, the geopolitical landscape continues to evolve. Burkina Faso's recent acceptance of 25,000 tonnes of free wheat from Russia further underscores the changing alliances, presenting a dynamic where African nations are courted by various actors beyond traditional partnerships.

 

Reader's Comments

LATEST STORIES

Tororo: Stalled projects ripping off the taxpayer
top-stories By David Ochieng
11 hours ago
Tororo: Stalled projects ripping off the taxpayer
Kalungu boss shakes up executive, says no room for negligence
news By Zainab Namusaazi Ssengendo
14 hours ago
Kalungu boss shakes up executive, says no room for negligence
Rwahi, where onions tickle the bank balance
top-stories By Alex Mugasha
14 hours ago
Rwahi, where onions tickle the bank balance