Former African Union (AU) Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao, says the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) must consider the root cause of Coup d’etats in the sub-region and map out strategies to deal with them.
According to her, the recent Coup in Niger must serve as a wakeup call to the West African regional bloc to identify and deal with the imposition of political and economic Coups on member countries especially the francophone ones, by their former colonial masters.
Dr Chihombori Quao indicated that the removal of democratically elected governments by the military was not the only type of coups being witnessed in the sub region and on the African continent but political and economic coups backed by the continent’s former colonial masters who still have interests in the affairs of the continent.
“Forcing 14 African nations to sell all their natural resources to France is a coup, United States and France having a military bases in Niger is a coup, forcing the people of African nations to be trained only by France is a coup – by forcing African nations to deposit 50% of their foreign reserves in France is also a coup,” she indicated.
The former AU envoy questioned the rational behind ECOWAS Security Council meetings if such sittings cannot address the many security issues the sub region was grappling with, adding “these political and economic coups have had dire consequences on the lives of the citizens of the affected countries with ECOWAS looking on without taking action.”
Dr Chihombori called on leaders of ECOWAS to table these political and economic coups and come out with strategies and solutions to change the status quo as they deliberate on what to do in the Niger situation.
She observed that behind such political and economic coups, there were millions of children dying from starvation and going to bed on empty stomachs, millions of African youth without employment, millions of women dying while giving birth to another life.
Dr Chihombori said if the interest of ECOWAS was truly about the Africans, there was the need to look at the global view with the best eye view of the issues and have a frank and fair discussion of what is really going on in Africa as the carnage happening in the sub-region is not all what ECOWAS was about.
“Leadership is about the people, about creating a better life for the people – but if we are going to allow those who have committed grievous crimes in Africa continue to create coups, we must also deal with these political and economic coups on the continent,” she indicated, adding, military intervention in the Niger crisis was not the best option in restoring democracy and constitutional order to Niger.
She further called on the leadership of ECOWAS and for that matter Africa to come together to engage in constructive conversation, and meaningful discussions to see what was ultimately good for the people especially in all former French colonies on the continent.