Tchintchibidja:Mali, B/Faso, Niger Still Members Of ECOWAS


By  Adoba Echono



The Vice President of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja, has said that Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are still members of the regional bloc.

Tchintchibidja disclosed this in an event to commemorate ECOWAS Day in Abuja, Nigeria.


She explained that it takes one year according to ECOWAS Protocol, to process the request by the three nations to leave the bloc.

.” Well, in our vision, from our standpoint, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are still members of the ECOWAS community. Let me explain that to you. We’ve had situations in those three countries where there have been a unconstitutional takeover, and as a result of the takeover by military juntas in those countries, ECOWAS went ahead and, based on our protocols, and sanctioned those member states.


“And as of this year, January of this year, these three member states did send a notification to the ECOWAS community, to the ECOWAS commission, signaling that they would like to withdraw from the community. So according to our protocols, according to our text that we have all signed, that these member states have also signed, it takes one year when from the day a country addresses a letter to the commission stating that they would like to withdraw.


“So according to our text, it takes one year. So according to our text, these countries still remain members of our community until January 29, 2025. So we are still in the process of engaging them, and we believe it is important that we remain in the spirit of solidarity within our community.


Mrs. Tchintchibidja explained that ECOWAS was doing all it could to make the three countries rescind their threat to exit, and described the efforts as “work in progress.”


“Well, it’s still a work in progress, quite frankly, for us it’s heartbreaking to know that three member states would like to exit from this community.

“We are stronger as a community. It’s like a family. You know, you’re always stronger when the family is unified, united.


“And for us, we are still working at it, you know, we still engage in negotiations with these member states to ensure that they remain within our community.

“But even if they were to leave, they still remain our brothers and sisters.


“As you know, our borders are porous, where citizens have families all across our borders, and we are all one people,” Tchintchibidja said.


Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in January this year wrote to ECOWAS to notify it of their decision to quit the regional bloc.


The Commission had imposed various sanctions on the three countries over the military takeover of power in their countries, which their military leaders considered unbearable.


Meanwhile, ECOWAS has lifted the sanctions, to pave the way for resolving the controversy.

On the 49TH anniversary of ECOWAS, Mrs. Tchintchibidja said the regional body was established on 28 May 1975, with the signing of the Treaty of Lagos, with the mission to promote economic integration across the region


“The purpose for which ECOWAS was created was to make sure that people can move freely from one country to another that people can trade freely from one country to another. And we consider that all brothers and sisters in the region, because a lot of us have family members in various countries. I give you my example.


“I’m originally from Togo, but I’ve got a family in Ghana, I’ve got family in Cote d’Ivoire, and I also have family members even in Burkina Faso. And I have, I don’t have any family members in Nigeria that I know of, but you never know, it’s a small world. You know, our people, being traders, have moved from one place, from one country to another, and we are one people.


“So it is important that all of us remain within this community, because the community, you know, has a lot of, it provides us with a lot of benefits and privileges. And within this community of ours, we’re also looking at moving towards a single currency where we’ll all be using the same money, the same currency from one country to another. And within this region, that’s not finalized yet, but those are talks that, you know, we’re working towards those objectives.



The Vice President of the regional bloc emphasisd the need for combined effort by member states in the fight against terrorism in the region.


“And it is important that together we join hands and fight against terrorist attacks in our region. And it’s very difficult to tackle and eradicate terrorism, because terrorists move from one country to another. And therefore, if together we need to have a strategy that everyone implements at the same time, so together we can win the war against terrorism in our region, so we don’t let them move and hide from one country to another.


As part of event to mark the anniversary, students from various schools were invited to ECOWAS Commission, in Abuja, in a bid to sensitize them on the missions, achievements and vision for ECOWAS for the future.

The theme for this year’s ECOWAS Day is “Strengthening Regional Unity, Peace and Security.”


Jide Ibitoye.

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