The Federal Government said it is still open for engagement with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic despite indicating their joint withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States.
The three African nations announced on Sunday that they had quit their membership of the West African regional bloc.
The three countries, which are currently under military rule, said they ceased to be members of the ECOWAS as the regional body had allegedly “moved away from the ideals of its founding fathers and pan-Africanism.”
But the Commission, in a swift reaction, said it was not aware of the withdrawal of the three countries, adding that “Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority.”
However, in a statement signed on Monday by the Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli, it noted that Nigeria stands with ECOWAS “to emphasise due process and shared commitment to protect and strengthen the rights and welfare of all citizens of member states.”
Omayuli said, “Nigeria expresses its sadness over the pronouncement by the military authority in the Republic of Niger indicating that the Republics of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have withdrawn membership of their countries from the Economic Community of West African States.
“For half a century, ECOWAS has worked to promote peace, prosperity and democracy in the region.
“Nigeria has worked sincerely and in good faith to reach out to all members of the ECOWAS family to resolve the difficulties being faced.”
Furthermore, Omayuli stated that “Nigeria remains open for engagement with Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger so that all the people of the region can continue to enjoy the economic benefits and democratic values that ECOWAS embraces.
“Nigeria further appeals to the international community to continue to extend its support for ECOWAS and the vision of closer partnership, co-operation and integration.”