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ECOWAS Lift Sanctions against Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso – Gen. Gowon

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In a significant development at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters in Abuja today, February 21, 2024, Former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon GCFR, has tasked leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to maintain peace and unity within the community.

General Gowon who is the sole surviving founding father of ECOWAS, made the call while delivering an open letter to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray.

The letter, intended for all ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, expressed deep concern over the recent decisions of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to exit the regional bloc.

Speaking before the media at the ECOWAS Commission, General Gowon conveyed his “deep concern and sadness” regarding the withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger from ECOWAS. He emphasized the significant impact this decision would have on the ordinary citizens who have benefited from ECOWAS achievements, including trade liberalization, the right of West Africans to live and work across the region, and successful peacekeeping interventions in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone.

General Gowon, speaking on behalf of all the founding fathers of ECOWAS, made a passionate appeal to all West African Heads of State and Government, urging them to set aside their differences and prioritize peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. He called for a reunification of all West African leaders for the greater good of the region.

Furthermore, General Gowon proposed a series of measures for consideration by the West African leaders to address the current challenges and foster unity and progress in the region including;

  1. Lifting of all sanctions that have been imposed on Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger;
  2. Withdrawal by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger of their notices to leave ECOWAS and
  3. Participation of all 15 ECOWAS Heads of State in a Summit to discuss the future of the community, regional security and stability, as well as the role of the international community given the current geopolitical context”.

General Gowon reiterated to the regional leaders that “ECOWAS is more than a coalition of States. It is a community established for the good of our people based on shared history, cul-ture and tradition”.

ECOWAS Commission President, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray assured General Gowon that the letter will be sent to every Head of State of the ECOWAS Community.

He further appreciated General Gowon for his commitment to constantly engaging with the Community.

The plea from General Yakubu Gowon comes at a critical juncture for ECOWAS, as the regional body faces the challenge of maintaining cohesion and addressing the concerns of member states.

The call for unity and collaboration among West African leaders echoes the sentiments of a founding father who played a pivotal role in the establishment of ECOWAS and its mission for regional integration and development.

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