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ECOWAS reopens talks with Niger junta, demands short transition roadmap

The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has established a committee to engage with the military junta in Niger Republic on the need…

The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has established a committee to engage with the military junta in Niger Republic on the need for a short transition roadmap and the emplacement of monitoring mechanisms.

This is contained in a communiqué at the end of the 64th ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, on Sunday in Abuja read by Dr. Omar Touray, President of ECOWAS Commission.

The Authority promised a gradual easing of sanctions based on outcomes of the engagement, emphasizing the need for the immediate and unconditional release of detained President Mohammed Bazoum.

They also resolved to hold an extraordinary summit on unconstitutional changes of government aimed at promoting peace, security, and democracy in the region.

“The Authority deeply deplores the continued detention of President Mohammed Bazoum, his family and associates by the CMSP regime.

“The Authority further deplores the lack of commitment on the part of the CMSP to restore constitutional order. Consequently, the Authority calls on the CMSP to release President Mohammed Bazoum, his family, and associates immediately and without precondition.

“The Authority decides to set up a committee of Heads of State made up of the President and Head of State of the Republic of Togo, the President and the Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the President and Head of State of the Republic of Benin, to engage with the CMSP and other stakeholders with a view to agreeing on a short transition roadmap, establishing transition organs as well as facilitating the setting up of a transition monitoring and evaluation mechanism towards this speedy restoration of constitutional order.

“Based on the outcomes of the engagement by the committee of Heads of state with the CMSP, the Authority will progressively ease the sanctions imposed on Niger,” the communiqué reads.

The Authority said in the event of failure by the CMSP to comply with the outcomes of the engagement with the committee, ECOWAS shall maintain all sanctions, including the use of force, and shall request the African Union and all other partners to enforce the targeted sanctions on members of the CMSP and their associates.

At the meeting chaired by President Bola Tinubu, the regional leaders commended the efforts being made by member states and the ECOWAS commission to work on the consolidation of democracy, peace, security, and stability in the region.

The Authority noted, in particular, the peaceful elections that took place during the year in Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and welcomed the peaceful resolution of the electoral dispute in Nigeria, as well as the peaceful outcome of the dialogue between the opposition and the government in the Republic of Sierra Leone.

On the fight against terrorism and other related security matters, the leaders instructed the commission to expedite the convening of the meeting of ministers of finance and defence to agree on the modalities for the mobilization of internal financial, human, and material resources on a mandatory basis to support the deployment of the regional counterterrorism force.

“The Authority takes note of the commencement of assignment by the Special Envoy on Counterterrorism, Ambassador Baba Kamara, and directs the commission to facilitate his mission.

“The Authority directs the commission to intensify collaboration with sub-regional counterterrorism initiatives such as the Accra initiative and MTJN and urges member states to increase funding for joint maritime operations and exercises in the region and to improve coordination and collaboration among various ministries, departments, and agencies responsible for maritime security,” the communiqué reads.

Meanwhile, the 14th Emir of Kano and Grand-Khalifa of Tijjaniyya, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has called on ECOWAS leaders to lift sanctions on Niger Republic. He said the sanctions mounted by the regional body were taking toll on Nigeriens.

He made the appeal in a short video shared online Sunday.

“The leaders of ECOWAS are currently meeting in Abuja. We hope and pray they lift up the sanctions on Niger Republic.

“They are our brothers and they’re suffering. They’re subjected to live in blackout for many months now, with medicine and food supply cut-off.”

Sanusi also slammed the western world for keeping a blind eye on “Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians. They bomb hospitals….

“Israeli atrocities against Arab Palestinians couldn’t in either way be even compared to ills of coup in Niger Republic. But nobody sanctioned Israel.

“They’re the owners and custodians of the democracy, so, there’s no way we (Nigeria or ECOWAS) can boast that we protect democracy better than they’d do.

“Let them sanction Israel. Let cut off medicine and food supply to Israel!

“So, we’re appealing to ECOWAS heads of states should review this issue (sanction). Food, medicine and electricity supply should be returned to citizens of Niger. It’s enough, it’s enough. People are pushed to the world. May Allah touch their heart to understand that that’s not the solution,” Sanusi added.

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