How Exploitation Is Fueling Coups In West Africa – Falana
Femi Falana (SAN)

Nigerian human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has come out to assert that exploitation of natural resources fueled the wave of military coups within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Falana stated this in a communique released on Thursday.

According to him, the correlation between resource mismanagement and political instability underscores the urgent need for reformed governance and transparent economic practices in the region.

The legal luminary cited the ‘reckless exploitation of natural resources’ as one of the principal driving forces behind the unsettling political unrest and the rise of unconstitutional changes in government.

Falana emphasized that the external influence and interference, particularly from former colonial regimes, coupled with the unchecked extraction of the region’s vast natural resources, has perpetuated economic inequalities.

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He noted that such disparities have, in turn, led to mounting frustrations and grievances among the populace, creating a conducive environment for coups and power struggles.

The ECOWAS has been under increased scrutiny, with a growing number of its member states experiencing political upheavals.

He said, ‘We have confirmed that another principal cause of change of governments in West Africa is the reckless exploitation of the natural resources of the member states of the ECOWAS by former colonial regimes and their allies.

‘Such exploitation is compounded by the control of the national economy by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The implementation of the anti people’s policies of the foreign forces has continued to increase the poverty of the entire people of the region.

‘Out of frustration with civilian governments, unemployed youths and victims of human rights abuse usually troop to the streets to celebrate coup plotters. The Ecowas leaders should end the crude exploitation of natural resources and empower the people to control the commonwealth of member states in accordance with Article 21 (1) of the Charter which provides:

‘All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it.’

The rights activist also noted that the immediate and remote cause of unconstitutional change of governments is the manipulation of constitutions and referenda by elected governments to extend the tenure of Presidents.

Meanwhile, Falana has urged the new Chairman of Ecowas, President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, to ensure that the amendment is passed forthwith while sanctions are imposed on democratically elected presidents who engage in amendment of the national constitutions to extend their tenure beyond two terms.

Africa Today News, New York

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