The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) President, Omar Touray, has announced that the commission is contemplating strategic measures to resolve the concerns surrounding the withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger from the sub-regional bloc.
Naija News reported earlier that ECOWAS officials convened for an emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, on Thursday for a ministerial-level Extraordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council (MSC).
The purpose of the meeting was to tackle the issues that led to the recent decision of the three countries to withdraw from the bloc. The session also discussed Senegal’s urgent electoral situation and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation.
Tourey highlighted that the official notifications from the three countries on January 29 regarding their withdrawal from ECOWAS had far-reaching implications that required attention.
He said: “To justify their action, the three countries outlined their grievances with ECOWAS, which include the perceived departure of ECOWAS from the “pan-African ideals of its founding fathers; the perceived influence of hostile foreign powers on ECOWAS, a feeling of abandonment by ECOWAS in their fight against terrorism; and the imposition of illegal, illegitimate, inhumane, and irresponsible sanctions by ECOWAS.
“These claims have no real basis; the hasty intent on withdrawal of membership from ECOWAS did not take into account the conditions for withdrawal of membership from ECOWAS.”
Touray stated that the decisions mentioned were embraced in the 1993 ECOWAS Revised Treaty.
However, he said it is crucial to note that the three member states have not fully grasped the consequences of this decision on their citizens.
According to him, ECOWAS, during the meeting today, meticulously compiled two memoranda regarding the matter for the concerned country’s review.
These documents, he said, include a comprehensive analysis of the broader ramifications of the withdrawal for the member states involved and the entire community.
Tourey criticized Senegalese President Macky Sall’s choice to revoke Decree 2023-2283, dated November 29, 2023, while summoning the electoral commission for the presidential election scheduled on February 25, 2024.
He expressed his worry on behalf of the MSC regarding this decision. Consequently, the country’s presidential election was delayed, and the National Assembly passed a resolution stating that this action contradicted the previously set date of December 15, 2024, for the poll.
“These developments have engendered crises in the country and the sub-region; these unfolding events in the region are posing threats to peace and political stability in our community.
“Consequently, an additional memorandum has been prepared on the situation in Senegal for consideration.
“This session of the MSC, therefore, invites you to critically examine the implications of the trio ECOWAS member-countries withdrawal,” the ECOWAS leader said.
On her part, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, represented by Bankole Adeoye, AUC’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, called for urgent steps to tackle ECOWAS issues.
Mahamat said: “This meeting is critical in our view, and we believe the extraordinary nature reflects the urgency to address these conflicting matters on our continent, particularly in West Africa.
“We are continually faced with terrorism, violence, extremism, insurgencies, difficult disruptions, and governance deficit; if these issues are not addressed promptly and holistically, we may undermine our democratic gains.
“Regrettably, we have continued to experience these complex challenges, particularly in this Sahel.”
He emphasized the importance of the three nations engaging in continuous dialogue with ECOWAS, highlighting that the regional bloc would actively promote its noble aspirations of security, democracy, good governance, and economic development.