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‘We’re not the enemy’ — Tinubu asks junta-led nations to reconsider exit from ECOWAS

‘We’re not the enemy’ — Tinubu asks junta-led nations to reconsider exit from ECOWAS
February 24
14:31 2024

President Bola Tinubu has urged the military governments of Niger Republic, Burkina Faso and Mali to reconsider their exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Tinubu spoke on Saturday during his opening address at the ECOWAS extraordinary summit held at the State House in Abuja.

In January, the three countries announced their withdrawal from the West African regional economic bloc.

The junta-led nations criticised ECOWAS over the sanctions imposed on them as part of efforts to restore democratic rule.

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Speaking at ECOWAS’ first summit since the withdrawal, Tinubu, who was elected chairman of the regional bloc in 2023, urged the exiting countries “not to perceive our organisation as the enemy”.

The Nigerian president also said ECOWAS must “re-examine” its “current approach to the quest for constitutional order” in the affected countries.

Tinubu said the countries’ withdrawal requests will be discussed during the extraordinary summit.

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“We will deliberate on the announced withdrawal from ECOWAS by the Republics of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In the spirit of collective security and African solidarity, we realise that the stability of these nations is intricately linked to the overall peace and security of West Africa,” he said.

“As such, it is pertinent that we engage in constructive deliberations to examine the actions taken by these countries and ensure that the citizens are not denied the benefits derived from our regional integration initiatives. In our ensuing discussions, we must put the plight of people, the ordinary citizens, at the centre of our decisions.

“Democracy is nothing more than the political framework and the path to addressing the basic needs and aspirations of the people. This is why we must re-examine our current approach to the quest for constitutional order in four of our Member States. I therefore urge them to reconsider the decision of the three of them to exit their home and not to perceive our organisation as the enemy.”

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