The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States has suspended the membership of the Republic of Niger until constitutional order is restored in the country.
This was contained in a statement by the regional organisation, following the decisions taken at the summit of heads of state and government held on Sunday in Abuja.
The statement read, “Until the 64th Ordinary Session held on December 10, 2023, the Conference of Heads of State and Government considered the situation in Niger as a coup attempt and continued to consider Mohamed Bazoum as the President of the Republic of Niger, Head of State.
“Due to this position, Niger was not suspended from ECOWAS’ decision-making bodies and members of Bazoum’s government were authorised to represent Niger in ECOWAS’ statutory meetings.
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“The December 10 summit recognised that Mohamed Bazoum’s government had effectively been overthrown by a military coup. Consequently, beginning from December 10, 2023, Niger is suspended from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS, until constitutional order is restored in the country.”
On Sunday, the ECOWAS leaders’ meeting in Abuja asked the military junta in Niger, which came to power via a coup on July 26, to release the deposed president, Bazoum, in exchange for the lifting of the sanctions imposed on the country.
The proposal was, however, rejected by the leader of the junta, Omar Abdourahmane Tchiani, who reiterated that Bazoum would not be released.
After the summit, the bloc presented the proposal to lift the sanctions in exchange for the freedom of the deposed president, while asking the junta to shorten the duration of the transition period it set at three years.
Tchiani agreed to the last request, without however specifying the new duration.
The sub-regional body also announced that it would retain the sanctions imposed on Niger.
By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid
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