ECOWAS Condemns Niger Coup -Takes Tough Measures to Reinstate Ousted Leader

MONROVIA: In the wake of the July 26, 2023 military junta coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned in the strongest terms the attempted overthrow of constitutional order in Niger and the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum, President and Head of State of Niger, as well as members of his family and Government. ECOWAS has also called for the immediate release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum as President and Head of State of the Republic of Niger, and for the full restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger, noting that President Bazoum remains the legitimate elected President and Head of State of The Republic of Niger recognized by ECOWAS, the African Union and the International community.

In a strongly worded communique issued July 30, 2023, ECOWAS said it considers the illegal detention of President Bazoum as a hostage situation and hold the authors of the attempted coup d’état solely and fully responsible for the safety and security of His Excellency President Mohamed Bazoum, as well as members of his family and Government.

The ECOWAS Authority stated that in the event its demands are not met within one week, measures are being put in place to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger. Such measures, ECOWAS said, may include the use of force. The Chiefs of defense staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.

According to the ECOWAS communique, the ECOWAS has ordered the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger; the institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger; the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger; the freezing of all service transaction including utility services; the freezing of assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks; the freezing of assets of the Niger State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks; and the suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly, EBID and BOAD.

Other measures include placing a travel ban and asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup attempt. The same applies to their family members and the civilians who accept to participate in any institutions or government established by these military officials. ECOWAS also calls on WAEMU and all other regional bodies to implement this decision.

The West African bloc also expressed appreciation to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the manner in which he has been conducting the affairs of the community since his election as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority.

The Extraordinary Summit was convened in response to the latest political developments in the Republic of Niger since the 26th July 2023 coup d’état. Present at the Summit were  Patrice TALON, President of the Republic of Benin; Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Adama BARROW, President of the Republic of The Gambia; Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO, President of the Republic of Ghana; Umaro Sissoco EMBALO, President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau; Bola Ahmed TINUBU, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal; and Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Togolese Republic.

Others included Rui Alberto DE FIGUEIREDO SOARES, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration of the Republic of Cabo Verde; Amb. Dee-Maxwell SAAH KEMAYAH, Sn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia; Rupert DAVIES, High Commissioner of Sierra Leone to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Republic of Sierra Leone; The Representative of President Bazoum, Republic of Niger; Dr Omar Alieu TOURAY, President of the ECOWAS Commission; Moussa Faki MAHAMAT, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Leonardo Santos SIMÃO, Special Representative of the United Nations; Secretary General For West Africa and the Sahel and Head of UNOWAS; and Abdoulaye DIOP, President of UEMOA Commission.

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