Nigeria, which is holding the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has criticized Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso for their decision to quit the bloc.
The three countries being led by the military said the decision taken in complete sovereignty will take immediate effect as they claim ECOWAS has become a threat to member states.
Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger were all founding members of ECOWAS when it was set up nearly five decades ago.
“ECOWAS under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its population”, their joint statement said.
Ties between the three nations and ECOWAS have been strained since military power grabs took place in Mali in 2020 and 2021, in Burkina Faso in 2022 and in Niger in 2023.
ECOWAS suspended all three countries and imposed heavy sanctions on Niger and Mali. In a joint statement however, the countries accused ECOWAS of violating its principles.
But the Nigerian foreign ministry in a statement said on Monday that the military leaders of the three countries were their people down and not acting in good faith.