ECOWAS Imposes Fresh Sanctions On Niger As Junta Rejects Diplomatic Overtures

The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has imposed fresh sanctions over the coup in Niger Republic. 

President Bola Tinubu who leads the regional body announced this through his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Tuesday. 

Nigeria had, Wednesday, disconnected the supply of 150 megawatts of electricity daily to Niger Republic as part of the ECOWAS’ efforts to restore democracy there. 

The ECOWAS had earlier given Nigerien military leaders seven days to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum or risk sanctions, including possible military action. 

But the junta had called the bluff of the regional bloc and vowed to resist any foreign interference. 

The military leaders had also severed ties with Nigeria, Togo, France and the United States and shut down the Nigerien airspace indefinitely. 

Following the expiration of the ultimatum, the ECOWAS had scheduled another meeting for tomorrow to review the situation in Niger. 

Addressing State House correspondents yesterday, Tinubu’s spokesman said more sanctions had been imposed on the individuals and entities relating with the Niger’s junta.

He did not provide details of the fresh sanctions, but he said these were carried out through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

Ngelale said: “I can also report that following the expiration of the deadline of the ultimatum and standing on the pre-existing consensus position of financial sanctions meted out on the military junta in Niger Republic by the bloc of ECOWAS Heads of State, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered an additional slew of financial sanctions through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on entities and individuals related to or involved with the military junta in Niger Republic. 

“The ECOWAS mandate, and ultimatum is not a Nigerian ultimatum. It is not a Nigerian mandate and the office of His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also serving as the chairman of ECOWAS, seeks to emphasise this point that, due to certain domestic and international media coverage, tending towards a personalisation of the ECOWAS sub regional position to his person and to our nation individually. 

“It is because of this that Mr. President has deemed it necessary to state unequivocally that the mandate and ultimatum issued by ECOWAS is that of ECOWAS’s position. While His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assumed the ECOWAS chairmanship, the position of ECOWAS conveys the consensus position of member heads of state. And a coup will not occur in one’s backyard without one being particularly aware of it. 

“The president in recent days, particularly following the expiration of the ultimatum given by ECOWAS has widened consultations internationally, but most especially domestically, including interfaces with state governors in Nigeria who govern states bordering Niger Republic on the various fallouts and outcomes of the unfortunate situation that has unfolded in Niger Republic. 

“But President Bola Ahmed Tinubu wishes to emphasise to this distinguished audience that the response of ECOWAS to the military coup in Niger has been and will remain devoid of ethnic and religious sentiments and considerations. 

“The regional bloc is made up of all sub regional ethnic groups, religious groups, and all other forms of human diversity. And the response of ECOWAS, therefore, represents all of these groups, and not any of these groups individually.” 

The presidential spokesman said tomorrow’s extraordinary summit of ECOWAS would come up with far-reaching decisions on the developments in Niger. 

He noted that Tinubu, in his capacity as the chairman of ECOWAS, had said diplomacy is the best way forward and that he and his colleagues in the bloc preferred a resolution through peaceful and diplomatic means pending any resolution at the Thursday extraordinary summit. 

Ngelale emphasised: “No option has been taken off the table.”

We can’t accept diplomatic visit because of safety risk – Niger junta 

Yesterday, Niger’s military leaders rejected the latest diplomatic mission from African countries aimed at restoring constitutional order after the July 26 coup. 

The military leaders, according to the BBC, said they could not accept a high-level diplomatic visit because there would be a risk to the visitors’ security. 

Delegates from the ECOWAS, the African Union and the United Nations had been due to fly to Niger Republic yesterday, but the junta said the sanctions and the threat of invasion from the regional bloc had created public anger, hence the delegation could not be hosted with calm and in security. 

The military leaders were also reported to have added that Niger’s land and air borders were closed. 

The Nigerien military leaders had already snubbed meetings with a senior U.S. envoy and another ECOWAS delegation that tried to negotiate. 

U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland flew to Niamey on Monday but was denied permission to meet with military leader, Abdourahamane Tiani or with Bazoum, who is in detention. 

Instead, she spoke for two hours with other army officers. 

“These conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult, because, again, we’re pushing for a negotiated solution. They are quite firm in their view of how they want to proceed, and it does not comport with the constitution of Niger,” Nuland told reporters.

Earlier, ECOWAS sent a mission to Niamey led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former military ruler of Nigeria, but Tiani also refused to see him. 

In contrast, Tiani met on Monday with a joint delegation from Mali and Burkina Faso, both neighbouring countries where the military has seized power from civilians. The juntas there have pledged support for the coup in Niger. 

“We will not accept military intervention in Niger. Our survival depends on it,” said Abdoulaye Maiga, a spokesman for Mali’s junta, appearing on Niger state television.” 

Niger’s military leaders Monday night named former economy minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the country’s new prime minister. Zeine was formerly the minister of economy and finance for several years in the cabinet of then-President Mamadou Tandja, who was ousted in 2010. 

He was also said to have recently worked as an economist for the African Development Bank in Chad.

Lift sanctions, restore full dialogue with junta, ACF tells ECOWAS

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday called for the lifting of sanctions against Niger Republic by ECOWAS and commended Nigerian senators for rejecting military action. 

ACF Publicity Secretary, Professor Tukur Muhammad-Baba, in a statement, advocated more dialogue with the Niger military junta to prevent a further breakdown of talks following the expiration of the one-week deadline earlier given to the regime to restore democratic rule in the country. 

He stated: “We at the ACF would like to reiterate our condemnation of the coup and demand that the personal safety of President Mohamed Bazoum and members of his government be guaranteed by the coup leaders. 

“Nigeria and Niger have had brotherly relations over the years and the ACF upon reviewing the latest political impasse, economic sanctions and expiration of the one-week deadline given to the military junta in Niger have come to the conclusion that dialogue remains the best option to avoid a catastrophic occurrence of events between the two nations and the West African sub-region. We should utilise all available goodwill, diplomatic, political, economic and human assets to win back the confidence of the people of Niger, who have, historically, come to regard Nigeria as a Big Brother!”

“Towards this end, and to boost confidence measures: The ACF urges President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and ECOWAS to review the situation and restore full dialogue with the Nigerien military junta through the immediate lifting of the economic blockade and other sanctions imposed on the country as a sign of goodwill to facilitate swift dialogue. 

“We call on President Tinubu and ECOWAS to revisit their approach to the Niger imbroglio based on concrete realities including the fact that most countries surrounding Niger Republic are not all in the ECOWAS region as Algeria, Libya and Chad may view a potential military aggression as a declaration of war against their borders. With Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinean military juntas also declaring support for the Niger coup leaders, the situation calls for caution so as not to further conflagrate the West African region.” 

He commended northern senators for convincing their colleagues in the Senate to totally reject outright use of force against the Niger Republic.

“We are particularly appreciative of the upper chamber of our National Assembly for toeing the line of a peaceful approach to the resolution of the potentially catastrophic conflict. 

“We strongly call on our government to intensify efforts towards further exploitation of peaceful, political and diplomatic measures to find a solution to the problem.” 

Sardauna Foundation calls for amicable resolution

Similarly, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation yesterday joined the league of prominent Nigerians and groups in condemning the Nigerien military leaders. 

Its Director–General, Abubakar Gambo Umar, in a statement, said the Foundation aligned with the mandate given to ECOWAS delegation led by General Abdulsalam Abubakar and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, “To engage all stakeholders robustly with a view to ensuring a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation in Niger for the purposes of African peace and development rather than a move to adopt the geographical positions of other nations. 

 “Nigeria and Niger have enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship characterised by shared boundaries, intermarriages, and extensive socio-economic activities. This relationship has fostered peace, cooperation and progress in the region.” 

Ultimatum to coupists hasty, ill-advised, says LCCI 

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday said the ultimatum issued to the military junta in Niger Republic on the restoration of democratic order or be faced with the use of military force was hasty and ill-advised. 

Its President/Chairman of Council, Michael Olawale-Cole, in a statement, said the Chamber aligned itself with the ECOWAS’ decision to restore democratic order in Niger but stressed that dialogue must be embraced to achieve the objective. 

“While the Chamber backs the cutting off of electricity supply to the country as one of the measures to bring the junta to its knees and to the negotiating table, we do not support any decision to deploy Nigerian troops as part of the regional military force to Niger. We fear such a decision may have wider geographical implications.”

ARO tasks ECOWAS on diplomatic engagement 

The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), has urged ECOWAS not to go ahead with military action against the Niger junta. ITUC-Africa, in a statement by its General Secretary, ITUC-Africa, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, appealed for the utilisation of diplomatic mechanisms in the quest to resolve the crisis. 

It warned that a military option would have a negative effect on the entire West Africa sub-region and the African continent as a whole.

Daily Trust Reports 


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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