ECOWAS Sets Up Committee to Engage Niger Junta on Democratic Transition

In a recent annual summit, West Africa’s regional bloc, ECOWAS, established a three-member committee comprising leaders from Togo, Sierra Leone, and Benin. The committee’s primary objective is to negotiate with Niger’s military junta regarding a transition to democratic rule and explore options for easing sanctions. The move comes after Niger experienced a coup in July, where soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum.

The committee aims to collaborate with the Niger junta to formulate a concise transition roadmap, emphasizing the swift restoration of constitutional order. ECOWAS expressed its willingness to progressively ease sanctions on Niger based on the outcomes of the committee’s engagement. However, the regional body cautioned that if the junta fails to comply, sanctions, including the potential use of force, will be maintained.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, serving as the ECOWAS chairman, advocated for the bloc to re-engage with countries under military rule. Tinubu stressed the importance of supporting these nations in achieving “realistic and short” transitions to democracy. In the wake of the July coup in Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone reported thwarting coup attempts in the last two weeks.

Tinubu also proposed that ECOWAS be prepared to offer technical and material support to military juntas to facilitate the attainment of transition goals. The regional bloc had imposed economic sanctions on the juntas, impacting the impoverished population, and Tinubu acknowledged the need to reconsider and potentially lift these sanctions.

Additionally, Tinubu announced that ECOWAS would review the formation of a security alliance by some member states under military rule. In September, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso signed a security pact committing to mutual assistance in the face of rebellion or external aggression.

Trendy Africa Communications NG by Simha Asuquo

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