President Bola Tinubu, Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has announced the imposition of heavier financial sanctions on the Republic of Niger and its supporting neighboring countries.
Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to President Tinubu on Media and Publicity, addressed journalists yesterday, clarifying that the ECOWAS mandate and ultimatum were not directed from President Tinubu’s office but were reflective of the consensus among ECOWAS member states.
He stated, “President Bola Tinubu has ordered an additional slew of financial sanctions through the Central Bank of Nigeria on entities and individuals related to or involved with the military junta in Niger Republic.”
The ECOWAS, which had initially given Nigerien military leaders a one-week ultimatum to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, has been grappling with the junta’s steadfast resistance.
The military leaders rejected high-level diplomatic visits, citing safety concerns, as the threat of regional sanctions and possible military intervention loomed.
The situation has strained regional relations, with Nigerien military leaders severing ties with Nigeria, Togo, France, and the United States while closing the country’s borders. In response to the escalating crisis, ECOWAS scheduled an extraordinary summit to discuss a path forward.
President Tinubu’s spokesman reiterated the emphasis on diplomacy, stating that while the regional bloc remains committed to its stance, no options, including military intervention, have been ruled out.
“No option has been taken off the table,” Ngelale affirmed.
Amid the tensions, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a prominent Northern Nigerian socio-cultural organization, called for the lifting of sanctions and advocated for more dialogue with the Niger military junta.
The ACF emphasized the historical relationship between Nigeria and Niger and urged for a peaceful resolution.
Similarly, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation echoed the call for dialogue, stressing the shared boundaries, intermarriages, and socio-economic interactions between the two nations.
Amidst these varying perspectives, the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) urged ECOWAS to prioritize diplomatic solutions over military actions, warning of the broader negative consequences of a military intervention on the West African sub-region and the continent as a whole.
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