ECOWAS Court rejects Niger junta’s plea to lift regional sanctions

The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a request to lift the sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on Niger Republic in the aftermath of the latest coup in the country.

Although, the court affirmed that it had jurisdiction to hear the case, it ruled that it could not grant the request for interim measures requested by the Nigerien junta.

The president of the court, Edward Asante, who led the three-member panel of the court that gave the decision, held that the junta failed to meet the additional requirement for the case to be admissible, according to the highlights of the judgement released by the court’s communications unit on Thursday.

The two other judges on the panel – Gbéri-bè Ouattara and Dupe Atoki – agreed with the judgement.

Some Nigerien military officers led by Abdourahmane Tchiani, an army general, on 26 July, overthrew President Mohammed Bazoum. He was detained and still being held by the junta in Niamey, the capital of Niger.

In a pushback to the military takeover, the ECOWAS highest authority led by Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu, slapped a range of sanctions on Niger in a desperate bid to restore constitutional order.

Under the sanctions, the Nigerian government cut off electricity supply to Niger, triggering power crisis in the junta-led country.

The regional body also threatened to invade Niger with a viewing to restoring Mr Bazoum to power.

To push back the sanctions, the junta approached the ECOWAS court, praying a series of orders to halt the penalties.

The Nigerien military regime and seven other applicants filed the request at the court for interim measures as part of a broader case challenging the legality of the coup-related sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.

The applicants said the border closure and suspension of electricity supply by Nigeria had brought on Nigeriens adverse effects, including shortage of food, medicine and electricity .

They asked the court to issue interim orders to compel the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS to immediately suspend the sanctions.

Rejecting the junta’s request, the court explained that the Nigerien military government lacked the competence to appear before it.

The court said the July coup robbed the junta the right to institute a suit before a constitutional body like the ECOWAS Court.

“The substantive application was also held to be prima facie inadmissible in respect of the rest of the Applicants within the meaning of Articles 9(2) and 10(c) of the Protocol of the Court,” the court’s communication unit’s statement also stated.

At the hearing of the suit on 21 November, the Nigerien government’s lawyer, Moukaila Yaye, and five others argued that the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS has crippling effects on the Nigerien people.

In the suit, the junta lamented that the sanctions had occasioned, “shortage of food, medicine and electricity,” due to the closure of borders and suspension of electricity supply by Nigeria.


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