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We're not the enemy - Tinubu placates junta-led nations to rejoin ECOWAS

Tinubu said the prevalent situation in the ECOWAS region demands difficult but courageous decisions that prioritise the plight of the people.

President Bola Tinubu [Presidency]

The President made the gesture during his opening speech at an extraordinary summit on the peace, political and security situation in the ECOWAS sub-region in Abuja on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

The meeting was the first ECOWAS summit since the junta-led nations exited the regional bloc on January 28, 2024.

Frustrated by the protracted sanctions and resultant excruciating effect on their countries, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, in a joint statement, announced their immediate withdrawal from the regional economic body.

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The three Saheel nations claimed the move was a “sovereign decision,” alleging that ECOWAS had become a threat to members.

However, Tinubu, who was elected chairman of the regional bloc in 2023, urged the aggrieved countries not to perceive ECOWAS "as the enemy."

He also called on the regional bloc to re-examine its current approach to the quest for constitutional order in the affected countries.

The Nigerian President noted that the prevalent situation in the sub-region demands difficult but courageous decisions that prioritise the plight of the people.

'Let me underscore that these challenges, though daunting, present an opportunity for ECOWAS to reaffirm its commitment to the vision of our founding fathers and the principles underpinning our commitment to peace, security, and regional integration.

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"We must stand united in our resolve to promote economic integration, democracy, and human rights, with a view to fostering sustainable development across all our member states.

"Times like we currently face in our sub-region demand that we take difficult but courageous decisions that put the plight of our people at the centre of our deliberations.

"Democracy is nothing more than the political framework and the path to addressing the basic needs and aspirations of the people.

"This is why we must re-examine our current approach to the quest for constitutional order in four of our Member States. I therefore urge them to re-consider the decision of the three of them to exit their home and not to perceive our organization as the enemy," he said.

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