The Economic Community of West African States, Ecowas, has threatened to use force against soldiers who overthrew the government in Niger and holding the president hostage.
Following an extraordinary session yesterday, the Authority issued a communiqué, which affirmed: “that His Excellency President Mohamed BAZOUM remains the legitimate elected President and Head of State of the Republic of Niger recognised by Ecowas, the African Union and the International community. In this regard, only official acts of President Bazoum or his duly mandated officials will be recognised by Ecowas; condemn in the strongest terms the attempted overthrow of constitutional order in Niger and the illegal detention of His Excellency President Mohamed Bazoum, President and Head of State of Niger, as well as members of his family and Government; call for the immediate release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum as President and Head of State of the Republic of Niger, and for the full restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger; reject any form of resignation that may purportedly come from His Excellency President Mohamed Bazoum; consider the illegal detention of President Bazoum as a hostage situation and hold the authors of the attempted coup d’état solely and fully responsible for the safety and security of His Excellency President Mohamed Bazoum, as well as members of his family and Government; in the event the Authority’s demands are not met within one week, take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger. Such measures may include the use of force; to this effect, the Chiefs of defense staff of Ecowas are to meet immediately; hold accountable all those responsible for violence and terror against lives and properties of innocent citizens and residents; condemn the pronouncement of support by foreign governments and foreign private military contractors;
express appreciation to the various governments and partners for their stance and solidarity with cowas; appoint and dispatch a special representative of the Chair of the Authority to Niger immediately to deliver the demands of the Authority; in the meantime, the following measures are to be applied with immediate effect: closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger; 2. Institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger;
Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between Ecowas Member States and Niger; freeze of all service transaction including utility services;
Freeze of assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks; freeze of assets of the Niger State and the State Enterprises and Parastatals in Commercial Banks; suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly, EBID and BOAD; travel ban and asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup attempt. The same applies to their family members and the civilians who accept to participate in any institutions or government established by these military officials; Calls on WAEMU and all other regional bodies to implement this decision.
Express appreciation to His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President and Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the manner in which he has been conducting the affairs of the community since his election as Chair of the ECOWAS Authority.”