NORTHERN GROUPS TACKLE TINUBU OVER WITHDRAWAL OF THREE NATIONS FROM ECOWAS
Prominent northern intellectuals and civil society groups have blamed President Bola Tinubu’s ‘hard-line’ posture as Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for withdrawal of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso from the bloc.
They said the decision would complicate the fight against insecurity in Nigeria, except government makes effort to urgently return them.
Led by Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) and Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CDDRT), the groups observed: “The current trajectory of ECOWAS, under your leadership, raises serious concerns.
It creates the perception that ECOWAS might be implementing a script, influenced by external, imperialist interests, particularly from former colonial powers like France.”
Coordinators of ARDP, Dr Kabiru Chafe and CDDRT, Prof Abubakar Saddique Mohammed, in an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, said the situation “is really troubling,” adding: “Such external influences, if true, could compromise the integrity, autonomy and objectives of ECOWAS, potentially leading to decisions that do not align with the collective interests of West African nations.
“The perception that ECOWAS is being swayed by external and non-African influences undermines the confidence of member states in the organisation’s ability to prioritise and protect African interests.
“It is crucial that ECOWAS remains a body driven by aspirations and needs of its member states, free from the undue influence of external powers.”
Chafe continued: “The strategic decisions and policies of ECOWAS should reflect the collective will of West African nations, aimed at fostering regional integration, peace and security. One of the most pressing issues needing to be dealt with seriously is the fight against insecurity in Nigeria, a battle that is intrinsically linked to the stability and cooperation within the ECOWAS region.
“The withdrawal of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso poses a direct threat to the collaborative efforts required to combat regional security challenges. These countries, particularly Mali and Niger, are critical in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, given their geographic positioning and the nature of cross-border security threats.” The concerned CSOs include Joint-Action Committee of Northern Youth Association (JACOM) and Don faults FG, ECOWAS handling of Niger Coup.