ECOWAS throws out Niger Republic

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The Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, threw out the suit filed by the Niger Republic government against the region’s Authority of Heads of State and Government.

The ECOWAS imposed sanctions on the country following the junta’s failure to relinquish power to the civilian President, Mohamed Bazoum on August 8

Worried by the sanctions, the Niger government approached the court arguing that the sanction had occasioned adverse effects on the Nigerien people, including a shortage of food, medicine, and electricity, due to the closure of borders and cut-off of electricity supply by Nigeria.

It asked the court to compel the Authority of Heads of State and Government to immediately suspend the sanctions.

Justice Edward Asante, while delivering judgment on the case, said an entity that had not subjected itself to the control of ECOWAS could not approach the ECOWAS Court to seek reprieve.

The judge held: “An entity resulting from an unconstitutional change of government and not acknowledged by ECOWAS as a government of a member state cannot inherently initiate a case before the court to obtain benefits or reprieve.

“Consequently, the substantive suit and the request for interim measures presented in the name of Niger, by an unconstitutional and unrecognized governmental authority, were prima facie inadmissible.

“Having concluded that the substantive application before the court was prima facie inadmissible, the court held that the request for interim measures could not be granted. It accordingly dismissed it. “

Ruling on the seven non-state applicants suing alongside the Republic of Niger, the ECOWAS Court held that they failed to provide specific details regarding the nature and extent of the harm suffered by each of them from the measures imposed on Niger.

Justice Asante said: “This lack of specificity made it challenging to differentiate their legal interests in this case from those of the Republic of Niger.

“Given these circumstances, the application is prima facie inadmissible relative to the non-state applicants as per the provisions of Articles 9(2) and 10(c) of the Protocol of the Court.”

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