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Gowon Urges ECOWAS To Lift Sanctions On Mali, B’Faso, Niger




Former Head of State of Nigeria, Yakubu Gowon, has recommended that the sanctions against Burkina Faso, the Niger Republic, and Mali be lifted by the regional bloc group.

Naija News reports that Gowon, who is one of the founding fathers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), made a plea on Wednesday in an open letter to the presidents of the ECOWAS member states and the heads of state.

During a press conference in Abuja, Gowon delivered the letter to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray. Gowon expressed concern that the announcement by Burkina Faso, Mali, and the Niger Republic to leave ECOWAS poses a threat to the bloc’s unity and has significant implications for common citizens.

Gowon said, “It saddens me to learn that ECOWAS is threatened with disunity following the announcement by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, three important member states, of their intention to leave the community.

“The impact of such a decision will have far-reaching implications for the ordinary citizens who have been the major beneficiaries of regional integration.”

Gowon urged the ECOWAS authorities to take the “lifting of all sanctions” that have been placed on Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger into prompt consideration.

He further encouraged Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to revoke their withdrawal notices from ECOWAS.

ECOWAS, West Africa’s leading political and regional institution established in 1975 to foster economic integration among member nations, has battled in recent years to halt a wave of military takeovers in the region, which included Mali in 2020 and 2021, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Niger in 2023.

Following a military takeover in Niger in 2023, the eight members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union and the fifteen members of the bloc (barring the four members suspended since adopting military rule—Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger) decided to halt financial transactions, close all borders with the nation, and freeze its assets held in foreign banks.