The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has responded to the decision of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to leave the regional grouping.
The ECOWAS Commission released a statement on Sunday stating that the three countries had not properly notified the commission.
The statement obtained by News24 Nigeria in Abuja, read in full : “The attention of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Commission) has been drawn to a statement broadcast on the National Televisions of Mali and Niger announcing the decision of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to withdraw from ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS Commission is yet to receive any direct formal notification from the three Member States about their intention to withdraw from the Community.
The ECOWAS Commission, as directed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, has been working assiduously with these countries for the restoration of constitutional order. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse.
The ECOWAS Commission remains seized with the development and shall make further pronouncements as the situation evolves.”
News24 Nigeria had earlier reported that the military regimes in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic announced their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS on Sunday in a joint statement read out on Niger national television.
The leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the Economic Community of West African States “without delay”.
“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” Colonel Amadou Abdramane, Niger junta spokesman, said in the statement.
“The organization notably failed to assist these states in their existential fight against terrorism and insecurity,” Abdramane added.
In September 2023, the three countries signed a mutual defence pact to assist one another against armed rebellion or external aggression.
The charter – Alliance of Sahel States – binds the countries to assist one another – including militarily should there be an attack against one of them.