West Africa: CSOs to Tinubu – Niger, Mali, B/Faso’s Exit From Ecowas Poses Security Threat

Some civil society organisations have said the withdrawal of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) poses a significant security threat.

The three countries had on Sunday announced their exit from the ECOWAS due to what they called illegal and inhumane sanctions imposed on them following the coups in their countries.

The regional bloc, chaired by Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, had said it had yet to receive any notification of withdrawal from the three countries.

The CSOs, in a joint letter addressed to Tinubu, said the withdrawal of these countries posed a direct threat to the collaborative efforts required to combat regional security challenges. The letter, dated January 31, 2024, was signed by Kabiru S. Chafe of the Arewa Research & Development Project (ARDP); Babayola M. Toungo, Arewa Research & Development Project (ARDP); Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, Centre for Democratic Development, Research & Training (CEDDART); Massoud Omar, Centre for Democratic Development, Research & Training (CEDDART); Hashim Tom Maiyashi, Joint-Action Committee of Northern Youth Association (JACOM) and Ms. Latifa Abdussalam of the Joint-Action Committee of Northern Youth Association (JACOM).

It specifically said Mali and Niger were critical in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, given their geographic positioning and the nature of cross-border security threats.

The letter titled, “Your Excellency, Upholding Regional Solidarity and Nigerian National Unity: An Open Letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on ECOWAS Challenges and Domestic Policy Concerns,” read in part: “One of the most pressing issues needing serious attention is the fight against insecurity in Nigeria, a battle that is intrinsically linked to the stability and cooperation within the ECOWAS region. The withdrawal of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso poses a direct threat to the collaborative efforts required to combat regional security challenges.

“These countries, particularly Mali and Niger, are critical in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, given their geographic positioning and the nature of cross-border security threats. Their departure from ECOWAS not only weakens the regional security framework but also leaves Nigeria more vulnerable to the spillover of instability and terrorist activities from these neighbouring countries.

“The decision of the Niger Republic, Mali, and Burkina Faso to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) marks a critical juncture in the history of our region. It has significantly altered the political landscape of West Africa, with multifaceted repercussions extending far across political, economic, security, social, and diplomatic spheres. Understanding the depth and breadth of these implications is essential for devising a strategic response that upholds the integrity and objectives of ECOWAS.”

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