Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has joined other West African leaders for an emergency summit following the spate of coups in the subregion.
Osinbajo left with Nigeria delegation early Thursday for Accra, Ghana for the Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government deliberating.
Emergency talks in the Ghanaian capital Accra were triggered after Burkina Faso on January 24 became the third member of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to be overtaken by the military.
Burkina followed Mali, where a coup in September 2020 was followed by a second in May 2021, and Guinea, where elected president Alpha Conde was ousted last September.
Adding to the region’s turmoil was a gun attack on Tuesday on the president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, stoking fears that years of efforts to steer West Africa towards stability and democracy are failing.
Thursday’s one-day meeting, scheduled to start at 1000 GMT, will assess the outcome of two missions to Burkina following the coup.
Burkina was suspended from ECOWAS after rebel soldiers arrested President Roch Marc Christian Kabore amid public anger at his handling of a jihadist insurgency.
The question now is whether the country — ranked a wretched 182nd out of 189 countries in the UN’s worldwide development index — will escape economic punishment.
ECOWAS has already slapped crippling sanctions on Mali and Guinea for dragging their feet on commitments to restore civilian rule.
Those measures have included the closure of borders by ECOWAS members, an embargo on trade and financial transactions, and sanctions against individuals.