In a bid to address the recent decision by the Republic of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Bola Tinubu has sent some of his cabinet members to engage with the governments of the nations.
This high-level team, comprising the Minister of Defence, Mr. Abubakar Badaru; the Foreign Affairs Minister, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar; and other top government officials, was led by the President of ECOWAS, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray.
Persecondnews recalls that on January 28, 2023, the three aggrieved nations announced their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS following their suspension by the body.
In a joint statement, the military leaders of the three Sahel nations said it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the ECOWAS “without delay.”
The trio was suspended from ECOWAS, with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions following coups that took place in Niger in July 2023, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Mali in 2020.
They accused the body of failing to help them tackle the jihadists who swept into Mali in 2012 and then on to Burkina and Niger.
Speaking at the extraordinary session of the mediation and security council of the bloc, Amb. Tuggar said the team came up with possible solutions for the pressing challenges facing member-states, such as climate change, violent extremism, migration, and organized crimes, among others.
The President of ECOWAS explained that this was the right time to come together as members of the bloc and solve common problems.
On his part, the Defence Minister, Badaru, said Nigeria was committed to regional security cooperation with other members of the ECOWAS countries.
Badaru, who attended the session alongside other defense ministers from across the ECOWAS community, deliberated on pressing security matters affecting the region, emphasizing the importance of collective action in addressing regional security challenges.
“Nigeria remains committed to working hand in hand with our ECOWAS counterparts to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens,” he added.
Persecondnews reports that the engagement by Tinubu’s team with the governments of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso signifies a crucial step towards reconciling differences within the ECOWAS community and reinforcing the foundations of regional cooperation and security.