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ACF urges Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso to rejoin ECOWAS



The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a prominent Nigerian socio-political group, has urged Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso to return to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

This call comes after ECOWAS lifted sanctions imposed on the three countries following military takeovers.

The ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Professor Tukur Mohammed-Baba, issued a statement on Thursday praising President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, who currently leads ECOWAS, for lifting the sanctions and reopening the Nigerian border with Niger.

“The ACF also calls on the heads of governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger (and Guinea) to back down on their threat to exit the Economic Community of West African States.

“This is no time for muscle-flexing but one to sweep away the detritus of a war of words between brotherly nations for the sake of unity and progress; all must remain in ECOWAS for the benefit of member nations,” the ACF said.

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The ACF said President Tinubu deserved accolades for the latest move and for acting in Africa’s interests, describing the development as “a heroic step forward against neo-colonial maneuvers.”

“The ACF congratulates the President for emerging from the saga as a bonafide, listening and responsive leader concerned with the plight of the people of Nigeria, Niger, and ultimately, West Africa.”

The three nations announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS in February 2024, citing the regional bloc’s sanctions as a threat to their sovereignty. However, ECOWAS, led by Nigeria, has maintained that the sanctions were a necessary response to the unconstitutional military takeovers.

Following the advice of former Nigerian leader General Yakubu Gowon, ECOWAS lifted the sanctions in a move seen as an olive branch. Despite this gesture, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso have yet to formally announce their return to the regional bloc.

The ACF’s statement urges the three countries to accept this olive branch and rejoin ECOWAS. Professor Mohammed-Baba emphasized the benefits of regional cooperation, particularly for economic development and security. He argued that rejoining ECOWAS would be in the best interests of the nations and the entire West African region.

The call from the ACF adds to the pressure on the three nations to clarify their position on ECOWAS membership. Whether they choose to rejoin or forge a new path outside the regional bloc remains to be seen.

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