President Bola Tinubu has instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to impose extra financial sanctions on Niger Republic and her senior officials who have refused to heed to the demand by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum.
Bazoum was overthrown and detained by senior military officers in the country about two weeks ago, to the chagrin of ECOWAS leaders who have threatened a possible military action against the coupists if democratic governance is not returned.
Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, announced the latest action by Nigeria, which currently chairs the Authority of ECOWAS heads of state and government.
Addressing State House correspondents in Abuja, Ngelale said that “following the expiration of the deadline of the ultimatum and standing on the preexisting consensus position of financial sanctions meted out on the military junta in Niger Republic by the bloc of ECOWAS Heads of State, His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered an additional slew of financial sanctions through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on entities and individuals related to or involved with the military junta in Niger Republic”.
He also dismissed attempts to personalise the angst and sanctions against the military in Niger Republic, stressing that whatever Nigeria has taken or takes falls under ECOWAS protocols and decisions, and not by unilateral fiat of Tinubu.
According to Ngelale, “this is not an individual action taken by an individual President on behalf of individual nation. This is an action taken by ECOWAS chairman who is the president of Nigeria, but standing on the authority provided by the consensus resolution of all ECOWAS members and heads of state with regard to financial sanctions being levied by ECOWAS Member States against the military junta in Niger Republic.
“There is an authority that we are standing on. It is not Nigerian government authority, it is the authority of the resolution passed in public before now.
“This is the context, the nuance and the detail that is required in our reports, lest our people be misinformed; and we begin to be framed internationally as being in a situation where it’s Nigeria versus its neighbour, Niger, because that’s the narrative that some certain international perspectives would like to advance for their own interest.”
He stressed that “the ECOWAS mandate, and ultimatum is not a Nigerian ultimatum. It is not a Nigerian mandate and the office of His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also serving as the chairman of ECOWAS seeks to emphasize this point.”
Ngelale further noted that Tinubu in recent days, particularly following the expiration of the ultimatum given by ECOWAS, has widened consultations internationally but most especially domestically, including interfaces with States governors in Nigeria, who govern states bordering Niger public on the various fallouts and outcomes of the situation in Niger Republic.
He also affirmed that Nigeria will be hosting an extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS leaders on Thursday to discuss the next line of action after the deadline given to the military in Niger Republic expired last Sunday.