Founding father of ECOWAS urges the bloc to lift the sanctions on Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger

General Yakubu Gowon, the last living founding father of ECOWAS, calls on Heads of State to lift the sanctions on Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in an open letter.

Nigerian Founding Father of ECOWAS, General Yakubu Gowon, is urging ECOWAS to lift the sanctions on Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger (Alliance of Sahel States).

The trio announced their exit from the sub-regional bloc on the 28 January 2024 and are building upon the Alliance of Sahel States(AES) confederation.

Gowon expressed in an open letter on the 21st of February at the ECOWAS Commission’s headquarters that the decision by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to withdraw membership from ECOWAS serves as detrimental to the sub-regional bloc and is especially harmful to citizens.

“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 ordinary citizens who have been the major beneficiaries of regional integration.”

“The ECOWAS authorities should immediately consider the implementation of the lifting of all sanctions that have been imposed on Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Niger,” he said.

Gowon, who will turn 90 later this year, collaborated with Togo’s President Gnassingbe Eyadema in 1975 to establish ECOWAS and integrate West African economies for regional benefit.

As per the ECOWAS founding treaty in 1975, their primary objective is to enhance cooperation and development in all areas of economic activity, specifically in industry, transportation, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial matters etc.

Over the years, ECOWAS has faced internal and external challenges that have hindered its progress as an organization.

In particular, transnational obstacles, overlapping memberships, and acts of terrorism have had a significant impact on AES countries, including Nigeria.

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