Darkness, starvation loom as ECOWAS blocks all supplies to Niger Republic’s 30 million people over military coup

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is taking drastic measures to restore democracy to the Republic of Niger, whose government was overthrown by the military junta last week.

The bloc, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, agreed on the “closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger, freeze all service transaction (sic), including utility services”.

The resolutions, among several others, resulted from a special meeting held on Sunday by ECOWAS member states in Abuja, Nigeria.

Although the sanctions aim to frustrate the junta into ceding power and paving the way for democracy to reign, Nigérien citizens will be plunged into darkness once utility services like power are cut off. 

Border closure could lead to starvation as citizens may no longer be able to transport food and other essentials from neighbouring nations to the Niger Republic.

ECOWAS further imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on all the military officials involved in the coup, extending it to their family members and civilians working in any agency established by the junta.

At the end of the meeting, Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission, said the authority also agreed to take military action against the military junta should they fail to restore President Bazoum within one week.

The U.S. government has expressed serious concerns over the junta’s continued detention of Mohamed Bazoum, the democratically elected president of Niger. The American government is backing ECOWAS to restore constitutional order to Nigér.

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