Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Set to Rejoin ECOWAS, Says Ndume

In a significant development for West African diplomacy, Nigerian Senator Ali Ndume has suggested that Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger are on the verge of reversing their decision to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Set to Rejoin ECOWAS, Says Ndume

Speaking on the sidelines of the ECOWAS Parliament Extraordinary Session in Kano, North West Nigeria, Ndume, a prominent and long-serving member of the ECOWAS Parliament, revealed that conditions conducive to the reintegration of these nations have been achieved.

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“The animosity that led to their decision to leave has dissipated, and Niger is no longer upset with fellow West African countries, particularly Nigeria. From all indications, they are prepared to return,” Ndume stated.

As the Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Ndume emphasized that the discord that prompted the exit of these countries has been resolved. He highlighted that Niger, in particular, is no longer at odds with its West African neighbors, setting the stage for a potential return to the regional bloc.

Ndume recalled that the withdrawal of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger was a reaction to ECOWAS’s condemnation of military coups and the subsequent imposition of sanctions. “The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, led by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, has lifted the restrictions and bans. It is now up to the three countries to reciprocate,” he explained.

The Senator noted that efforts by an ad hoc committee from the previous ECOWAS Parliament are bearing fruit. “We had an ad hoc committee from the previous parliament working on this, and we are seeing positive results. I am personally involved, and there is hope that we will soon reunite,” Ndume added.

The withdrawal of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger in January followed their suspensions from ECOWAS due to military coups and international pressure for a return to democratic governance. Military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger had seized power in August 2020, September 2022, and July 2023, respectively, leading to their sanctioning by ECOWAS.

As the regional bloc works towards reintegration, the potential return of these countries marks a pivotal moment in restoring unity and stability in West Africa.

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