NIGERIA has got the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to impose fresh sanctions against Guinea and to maintain existing once against Mali over the decisions of their militaries to overthrow democratically-elected governments.
Over the weekend Ecowas held an extraordinary summit in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, where the political situation in the two countries was deliberated. According to Laolu Akande, the spokesman for Nigeria’s vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the summit was convened to review the political situations in Guinea and Mali.
According to Mr Akande, a communique was issued at the end of the Third Extraordinary Summit on Guinea and Mali attended. He pointed out that it was attended by Professor Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Akande said: “The authority decided to uphold the suspension of the Republic of Guinea from all Ecowas governing bodies, as well as the travel ban and freeze on financial assets imposed on the members of the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD) and their family members, until constitutional order is restored. They resolved that in conformity with the decision taken on September 16, the authority decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect against individuals and groups, who have been identified, including the entire transition authorities and other transition institutions.
“These sanctions will also be imposed on the members of their families and include a travel ban and a freeze on their financial assets. It further instructs the president of the Ecowas Commission to consider and propose additional sanctions at its next ordinary session on December 12, should the situation persist.”
Attended by leaders from 13 countries, the summit called on the African Union, the United Nations (UN) and other bilateral and multilateral partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions. Professor Osinbajo noted that African countries had gone beyond military coups as a means of changing political actors, describing coups as unacceptable.
Professor Osinbajo added: “One of the important points that the Ecowas heads of state and government make is that coups and coups d’ etat generally are completely unacceptable. And we cannot continue to have a situation where they are tolerated for the simple reason that in Africa, West Africa in particular, we have gone way beyond military coups as an answer to the question of change in political actors.
“There is a very strong feeling amongst the heads of states that we must insist, other international bodies like the UN, European Union and other regional groups must support the imposition of sanctions on individuals and groups that choose not to follow the democratic process of change of government, but go by way of coup d‘ etat.”
Presided over by President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the current Ecowas chairman, the summit reviewed the situations in both Guinea and Mali. According to Professor Osinbajo, it appeared from all indications that a lot of progress has been made in Guinea, although there were still concerns that there ought to be more clarity on transition.
However, Professor Osinbajo said Mali was a much more difficult situation because very little progress had been made there. President Akufo-Addo, had earlier briefed the meeting on the outcome of a high-powered delegation led by himself to Guinea and Mali on September 17 and October 17 respectively.