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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has lifted sanctions imposed on Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso — member nations that are ruled by the military.

On Saturday, President Bola Tinubu, chairman of ECOWAS, said the decision was based on humanitarian considerations, especially because of the  Lenten period and the approaching month of Ramadan.

The regional bloc also lifted sanctions on the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, said Tinubu spoke at the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS held in Abuja.

Everything we did was in hopes of persuading our brothers that there existed a better path, a path that would lead to genuine improvement of their people’s welfare through democratic good governance. And this was a path each of our nations had solemnly agreed with one another pursuant to formal regional treaty and protocol,” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.

“However, the sanctions that we contemplated might help lead our brothers to the negotiating table have become a harsh stumbling block. In my mind and heart, that which is hurtful yet ineffective serves no good purpose and should be abandoned.

“ECOWAS was established for the unassailable objective of improving the lives of the people of this region through fraternal cooperation among all member states. This edifice was cemented on the strong foundation and apt conviction that, united as one, we can be the true masters of our destiny.”

 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has lifted sanctions imposed on Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso — member nations that are ruled by the military.

On Saturday, President Bola Tinubu, chairman of ECOWAS, said the decision was based on humanitarian considerations, especially because of the  Lenten period and the approaching month of Ramadan.

The regional bloc also lifted sanctions on the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, said Tinubu spoke at the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS held in Abuja.

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“Everything we did was in hopes of persuading our brothers that there existed a better path, a path that would lead to genuine improvement of their people’s welfare through democratic good governance. And this was a path each of our nations had solemnly agreed with one another pursuant to formal regional treaty and protocol,” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.

“However, the sanctions that we contemplated might help lead our brothers to the negotiating table have become a harsh stumbling block. In my mind and heart, that which is hurtful yet ineffective serves no good purpose and should be abandoned.

“ECOWAS was established for the unassailable objective of improving the lives of the people of this region through fraternal cooperation among all member states. This edifice was cemented on the strong foundation and apt conviction that, united as one, we can be the true masters of our destiny.”

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Tinubu said ECOWAS took the steps it did based on the regional ideals of security, social stability, democratic governance, political freedom, broad-based prosperity, and sustainable economic development through fair opportunity for each and everyone in West Africa.

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

In calling for the suspension of sanctions, Tinubu said: “We must take note of the approach of the holy month of Ramadan and of Lent.”

“Whether you pray in the mosque or in the church, this represents a time for compassion, hope, and harmony. It is a time that we must not only seek God but also a closer relationship with brother and neighbour,” the president said.

In the Spirit of the holy month and of the Lenten period, and with hearts bestirred by goodwill towards all our people, let us extend a hand as brothers and friends to those in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.

“What I suggest in real and practical terms is that we, my colleagues and fellow heads of state in ECOWAS, indefinitely suspend economic sanctions against Niger, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso and against the leadership of the military authorities in those nations.”

The president asked that ECOWAS facilitate the unfettered flow of foodstuffs, medicines and other humanitarian items to the people of these nations, especially to the most vulnerable.

He added that for Nigeria, “this will also mean the prompt resumption of the export of electric power to Niger”.

“In this vein, suspension of sanctions is an important but initial step. What we seek is more than the breaking of the diplomatic logjam. We must use this very moment when things seem tense and progress unavailing, to forge greater cooperation within our community,” he said.

“We not only reach out to our brothers. Today, we say unto them — let us begin to work more earnestly together for the economic development of our people and towards confronting those modern challenges that respect no borders or boundaries.

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