ECOWAS exit: Don't endanger our neighbourly bond, Niger Republic tells Nigeria

Niger Republic says Nigeria is endangering the neighbourly and fraternal ties between both nations.

In a joint statement on January 28, Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The three junta-led West African countries faulted ECOWAS for the sanctions imposed on them as part of efforts to reverse the coups in their countries.

They also cited ECOWAS' drift from the spirit of pan-Africanism, and the regional bloc's failure to stem the insecurity and terrorism in their nations, as reasons for their withdrawal.

On Monday, Nigeria condemned the exit of the three nations from ECOWAS.

ECOWAS said it was shocked by the development, saying it received no prior notification of the countries' position.

Backing the regional bloc, Nigeria said ECOWAS has worked to promote peace, prosperity, and democracy in the region for half a century.

In a statement by Bintou Ouattara, head of division of regional economic communities at the ministry of foreign affairs, Niger Republic said the help it rendered during the Biafran civil war was critical in safeguarding Nigeria's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"By deciding irresponsibly to illegally and unjustly sanction Niger and to undertake military intervention against our country, ECOWAS has become a threat to all the people of the Sahel and its member states," the statement reads.

"With particular regards to Nigeria's responsibility, the government of Niger notes with deep regret that history will record that the unfair, illegal, unjust and inhumane sanctions against Niger were taken under the leadership of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, current president of the ECOWAS conference of heads of state and government.

"Then, to the irresponsible ECOWAS sanctions, Nigeria despite our neighbourly and fraternity ties, added its own punitive sanctions, namely; cutting off the supply of electrical energy indiscriminately, blocking the supply to Niger in pharmaceutical and food products, etc.

"In any case, Niger has no moral lessons, much less democracy, governance or patriotism, to receive from the current Nigerian authorities.

"Also, Niger urges them to exercise restraint and pull themselves together so as not to endanger our age-old bonds of fraternity which fully deserves to be preserved in the best interest of our people."

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