ECOWAS says it has not received formal notification of withdrawal from the bloc by Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
ECOWAS is a sub-regional political and economic union of 15 West African countries.
It stated on Sunday in Abuja that its attention had been drawn to a broadcast on the national television stations of Mali and Niger announcing the decision of the three countries to withdraw from the union.
“The ECOWAS Commission is yet to receive any direct formal notification from the three member states about their intention to withdraw from the Community.
“The ECOWAS Commission, as directed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, has been working assiduously for the restoration of constitutional order in those countries.
“Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to their political impasses.
“The ECOWAS Commission remains seized with the development and shall make further pronouncements as the situation evolves,’’ it stated
BRANDPOWER reports that the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger yesterday announced their immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, saying it had become a threat to member states.
Leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the ECOWAS “without delay”.
Struggling with jihadist violence and poverty, the regimes have had tense ties with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger last July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020.
All three, founding members of the bloc in 1975, were suspended from ECOWAS with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions as the bloc tried to push for early return of civilian governments with elections.
The sanctions were an “irrational and unacceptable posture” at a time when the three “have decided to take their destiny in hand”, a reference to the coups that removed civilian administrations.
The three nations have hardened their positions in recent months and joined forces in an “Alliance of Sahel States”.
The leaders’ joint statement added that 15-member ECOWAS, “under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, had become a threat to member states and peoples.
They accused the grouping of failing to help them tackle jihadists, who swept into Mali from 2012 and then on to Burkina Faso and Niger.