WACSOF CALLS FOR RELIEF OF SANCTIONS AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF NIGER, AND THE FINALIZATION OF THE REVISION OF THE “ECOWAS PROTOCOL ON DEMOCRACY & GOOD GOVERNANCE” TO INCLUDE, AMONG OTHERS, THE LIMITATION OF PRESIDENTIAL MANDATES TO 2 TERMS
ABUJA DECEMBER 08TH 2023: The West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), is closely following the evolution of the political crisis in NIGER, following the military coup that occurred on July 26, 2023 which led to the overthrow of the President elected MOHAMMED BAZOUM. During the extraordinary meeting of heads of state on July 29, 2023 in Abuja, Nigeria, ECOWAS, without dialogue previously known to the public, immediately issued a series of sanctions against NIGER, including the threat of military intervention, closure of borders, blocking of NIGER’s financial reserves by the BCEAO (Decided by UEMOA).
Considering that ECOWAS sanctions
- Blocked and rotted thousands of tons of food and pharmaceutical products at the borders, particularly on the border between Benin and Niger
- Led to the cutting of electricity from Nigeria to Niger, thus depriving the country of more than 50% of its electricity supply, thus destabilizing the proper functioning of hospitals and basic services and inevitably leading to deaths of children and poor citizens. The products blocked in this way could have saved thousands of human lives, particularly women and children.
- Have collectively and disproportionately punished the populations of Niger, without any discernment
- Caused the closure of borders while ECOWAS works for regional integration which necessarily involves opening borders and the free movement of people, goods and services
Reaffirming its deepest concerns regarding the too many unresolved problems that plague the region and which negatively affect the lives of citizens:
- Inequitable exploitation of natural resources that are not locally processed and do not benefit citizens, as well as violent extremism, terrorism and the consequences of climate change, not to mention the questionable conditions of women and children
- The repetition of military, constitutional and electoral coups, a situation symptomatic of a deep malaise, resulting from a crisis of governance, endemic corruption, restriction of civic and political space, an instrumentalization of the justice in States to block political adversaries, or to imprison journalists and citizens with opinions different from those in power, with political prisoners and exiles and an extreme politicization of national armies, as well as public administrations which should remain neutral and republicans.
In view of the above, WACSOF
- Calls on ECOWAS for more humanity:
- To reduce sanctions that penalize the populations of NIGER and to favour targeted sanctions that do not worsen the already precarious socio-economic situation of citizens
- To abandon any military option in NIGER and to favour a peaceful solution between Nigeriens
- To tackle the root causes of coups d’état, which are bad governance, the closure of civic and political spaces, endemic corruption, the exploitation of justice against political adversaries, rigged and non-credible elections, imprisonment of journalists and political opponents, two-tiered justice, blindness to constitutional changes to maintain power, which are also coups d’états
- To finalize the »process of review of the 2001 additional protocol on democracy and good governance », as decided by the extraordinary summit of heads of state, on September 16, 2021 in Accra, Ghana, to include among others, limiting presidential mandates to two terms
- Calls on the government of the republic of NIGER to maintain the canal and gestures of dialogue with all partners with a view to a peaceful settlement
- Invites the civil society to collaborate towards a peaceful settlement for the benefit of citizens
- Remains seized of the situation in NIGER and invites all civil society organizations to actively contribute to dialogue, peace and social cohesion.
- Affirms its full availability to contribute, alongside ECOWAS, the people of NIGER and all stakeholders, to peace, a return to constitutional order, socio-economic development and social cohesion.
Contacts: Media@Wacsof-Foscao.Org / +234 810 287 0960 (WhatsApp)
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With more than 1000 Member Organizations, the WEST AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM (WACSOF) is the umbrella network of the Civil Society in West Africa, covering 18 thematic areas, with representation in 15 countries of ECOWAS. WACSOF is the channel for institutionalized dialogue between civil society organizations and ECOWAS. WACSOF builds capacity, advocates, mobilizes civil society, engages in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies for a prosperous, stable and peaceful Africa. WACSOF is an excellent channel, a one-stop-shop for systematic engagement between institutions and civil society organizations, for impactful results. www.Wacsof-Foscao.Org