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Ndume Urges Tinubu, ECOWAS to Lift Ban on Niger

Ndume Urges Tinubu, ECOWAS to Lift Ban on Niger

The Chief Whip of the 10th Senate, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, has urged President Bola Tinubu and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lift economic, trade, and other sanctions placed on Niger Republic.

To recall, on 26 July, a coup d’état occurred in Niger when the country’s presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum, and Presidential Guard commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani proclaimed himself the leader of a new military junta.

Shortly after confirming the coup was a success, the military coup that ousted Mohamed Bazoum led to the decision of the Head of Ecowas, Bola Tinubu, to place sanctions on the Republic of Niger. The President of Nigeria was appointed Chairman of ECOWAS on 9 July 2023 and warned that they would not allow another coup in the region and would take up these issues with the African Union and Western countries.

On 30 July, ECOWAS gave Niger’s coup leaders a one-week deadline to hand power back to Bazoum or to face international sanctions and/or use of force. On the same day, ECOWAS leaders said they would immediately enforce a no-fly zone over the country for all commercial flights and a closure of borders with Niger. A series of sanctions were also announced, including the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between its member states and Niger and the freezing of assets and travel restrictions for military personnel involved in the coup.

However, Senator Ndume made the call yesterday at the Government Reserve Area (GRA) residence in Maiduguri, Borno State, while expressing how the five-month political sanctions are affecting the people of Nigeriens.

Besides the economic problems in Niger, the ECOWAS economic and trade restrictions have had a significant negative impact on the citizens of Nigeria’s border states, including Kano, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, and Yobe. Instead, he claimed, sanctions ought to be imposed on the Tchiani junta, which, on July 26, 2023, forcibly overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum’s democratically elected administration.

In his statement, he said, “The decision of ECOWAS to place economic sanctions on Niger was, however, rushed, instead of the National Assembly to dialogue with the junta,” warning that about 100,000 displaced persons from Abadam, Guzamala, and Mobbar local councils were taking refuge in Diffa Province for over a decade.

Ndume, however, called on Tinubu to negotiate with the military junta, Tchiani, by sending four former military heads of state, including retired Generals Yakubu Gowon, Abubakar Abdulsalami, Muhammadu Buhari, and Ibrahim Babangida. With such visitation aimed at restoring “respect and dignity”, Nigeria has with ECOWAS, African Union (AU), and the international community.

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