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Nigeria restores electricity supply to Niger as ECOWAS lifts sanctions

Nigeria has agreed to restore electricity supply to Niger Republic as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday lifted the sanctions on Niger,…

Nigeria has agreed to restore electricity supply to Niger Republic as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) yesterday lifted the sanctions on Niger, Mali, Burkina-Faso and Guinea.

The sanctions were lifted after the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS on the political, peace and security situation in the sub-region held at the State House Conference Hall, Abuja.

Daily Trust on Sunday had on Friday predicted that the ECOWAS would lift sanctions imposed on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

A former head of state of Nigeria and founding leader of ECOWAS, General Yakubu Gowon (retd), had on Wednesday urged the regional bloc to lift all sanctions imposed on the three countries. He had also asked the three countries to withdraw their notices to quit ECOWAS.

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Nigeria restores electricity supply to Niger as ECOWAS lifts sanctions

Nigeria had in August last year cut off electricity supply to Niger Republic as one of the sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS against the coupists in the country.

Nigeriens had felt the pangs of the lack of electricity in their country.

Senators from northern Nigeria, under the aegis of the Northern Senators Forum, had last November asked President Bola Tinubu to restore electricity to Niger Republic.

The Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who is the chairman of the ECOWAS, had earlier yesterday called for the suspension of economic sanctions imposed on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

He said the sanctions were intended to persuade the countries to the negotiating table.

He explained that ECOWAS took its steps based on the regional ideals of security, social stability, democratic governance, political freedom, broad-based prosperity and sustainable economic development through fair opportunities for everyone in West Africa.

He said neither hatred nor hidden motive influenced the steps taken and there was never any intention to douse or undermine the legitimate political aspirations of any member-state or advance the interests of any outside party.

Tinubu asked the ECOWAS to facilitate the unfettered flow of foodstuffs, medicines and other humanitarian items to the people of these countries, especially the most vulnerable.

He said that for Nigeria, “This will also mean the prompt resumption of export of electricity to Niger.”

Reading the communique of the meeting to journalists, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, said the regional bloc resolved to lift the sanctions because of its implications on the citizens of the three countries and the West African sub-region as a whole.

He said, “The Authority has resolved to lift, with immediate effect, the following measures imposed on the Republic of Niger – closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger. No fly zone of all commercial flights to and from Niger is to be lifted. Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger is to be lifted. Freezing of all service transactions, including utility services, is to be lifted.

“Also, freezing of assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS central banks is to be lifted. Freezing of assets of Niger and the state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks is to be lifted. Suspension of Niger from all financial assistants and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly EBID and BIRD is to be lifted. Travel ban on the government officials and their family members is also to be lifted.”

He said the decision was based on humanitarian considerations, “especially as we are in the month of lent and as we prepare for the holy month of Ramadan.”

He said the ECOWAS had also resolved to lift the sanctions regarding the recruitment of Malian citizens in statutory and professional positions within its jurisdiction.

Among others, he also said the body had also resolved to lift financial and economic sanctions on the Republic of Guinea.

“The Authority has also instructed the president of the commission to invite Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Guinea to attend the technical and consultative meetings of ECOWAS, as well as all security related meetings.

“The Authority calls on ECOWAS institutions, member-states, YMOU and other regional institutions to implement this decision.”

On the status of the ousted president of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bazoom, the Authority called for his immediate release.

“The Authority also called on the transition authorities in Niger to provide an acceptable transition timetable to the constitutional order,” he stated.

Speaking on the intention of the three countries to withdraw from the regional bloc, the ECOWAS urged the countries to reconsider the decision in view of the benefits that member-states and their citizens enjoy in the community.

“The Authority expressed its concern over the socio economic, political, security and humanitarian impact of the decision, particularly on the citizens of the three countries and on the regional integration process.

“The Authority further urges the three member states to resort to dialogue, negotiations and mediation to address their concerns” even as they were urged to adhere to the provisions of the 1993 revised treaty relating to withdrawal particularly article 91, he said

The ECOWAS encouraged a broader outreach, which should include traditional, religious leaders, eminent personalities, civil society and women leaders for the unity and security of the regional.

It reiterated the urgent need for ECOWAS to expedite the operationalisation of the standby force in its kinetic mode to fight against terrorism in the region, including the elements of the Multinational Joint Task Force, and the Accra initiative.

“In this regard, the Authority instructs its commission as soon as possible to convene the meeting of ministers of finance and defense to propose modalities for financing and equipping counterterrorism force.

The Authority expressed its gratitude to General Yakubu Gowon for his interest in the welfare of the community and his valuable suggestions.

On the political situation in Senegal, ECOWAS commended President Macky Sall for his invaluable leadership in Africa.

“The Authority calls on Senegalese stakeholders to give priority to dialogue, with a view to preserving the democratic gains of Senegal through free, inclusive and transparent elections,” it added.

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