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ECOWAS lifts sanctions on Guinea, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso; restores power supply

President Bola Tinubu on Saturday, called for the suspension
of economic sanctions imposed on Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea by
ECOWAS.

 

Speaking at the Extra-ordinary Summit of ECOWAS in Abuja,
President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and
Government of the organization, stated: “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 under formal regional treaties and protocols.

 

“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 President further explained that 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 every one in West Africa.

 

He said neither hatred nor hidden motive influenced the
steps taken and 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, President Tinubu
stressed that: “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.

 

“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, adding that for Nigeria, this
will also mean the prompt resumption of 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.

 

“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. Challenges ranging from climate change to
violent extremism to illegal pilfering of our precious natural resources
require that we join together in progress or we fail separately.

 

“As leaders of ECOWAS, we have accepted the honour and duty
to draft the history of the region and its people during our tenure in office.
We have also accepted the honour and duty to reach out to our brothers, letting
them know this regional home belongs to us all. I shall do my utmost in this
regard. I humbly beseech that you do the same.

 

“For these reasons, we must suspend sanctions and return to
brotherly dialogue. I call on the leadership in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and
Niger to embrace the hand extended,” the President stated.

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