NIAMEY: General Abdourahamane Tchiani, head of the military junta in the Niger Republic, declared on Monday that none of the three Sahel countries, including Burkina Faso and Mali, would reconsider rejoining the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
In an interview with the RTN news channel in the capital city of Niamey, Tchiani reiterated the stance taken by the military regimes of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger on January 28, when they announced their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS.
The withdrawal, deemed a “sovereign decision” by the Sahel nations, was prompted by what Tchiani described as ECOWAS’s failure to prioritize the needs of its member states over external interests.
“Just because we are members of the bloc, food and medicine supplies were cut off. Power was also cut off, and our own funds have been frozen. So, we consulted our friends in the Sahel on exiting the bloc to better the lives of our citizens,” Tchiani explained.
Regarding concerns over the withdrawal’s impact on security, trade, and socio-economic activities, Tchiani dismissed the notion that ECOWAS was indispensable in today’s globalized world.
“Now the world is a global village, and is the world within ECOWAS? So, God will feed every human He created,” he remarked.
Tchiani further underscored his stance on the detention of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, stating, “We would never release Bazoum. Setting Bazoum free is akin to stabbing ourselves in the stomach, which would do harm to Nigeriens.”
The junta’s firm position signals ongoing tensions between the Sahel nations and the regional bloc, raising concerns about the future of ECOWAS’s influence in the region.