The Republic of Niger’s membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS/CEDEAO) has been officially suspended by the ECOWAS Commission until constitutional order is reinstated in the country. This decision was communicated through a statement released by the regional body, following resolutions made at the summit of heads of state and government held in Abuja on Sunday,Premium Times reports.
Up until the 64th ordinary session on December 10, 2023, the Conference of Heads of State and Government regarded the situation in Niger as a coup attempt and continued to recognize Mohamed Bazoum as the President of the Republic of Niger and Head of State. As a result, Niger was not suspended from ECOWAS decision-making bodies during this period, and members of Bazoum’s government were authorized to represent Niger in ECOWAS statutory meetings.
However, the summit on December 10 acknowledged that Mohamed Bazoum’s government had been effectively overthrown by a military coup. Consequently, starting from December 10, 2023, Niger is suspended from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS until constitutional order is restored in the country.
During the Abuja meeting on Sunday, ECOWAS leaders called on the military junta in Niger, which seized power in a coup on July 26, to release the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum in exchange for lifting the sanctions imposed on the country. The junta leader, Omar Abdourahmane Tchiani, rejected this proposal, insisting that Mr. Bazoum would not be released.
Following the summit, the bloc presented the proposal to lift sanctions in exchange for the release of the deposed president, also urging the junta to shorten the current three-year transition period. Mr. Tchiani agreed to the latter request, although the specific duration reduction was not specified. The sub-regional body confirmed the continuation of sanctions against Niger.