ECOWAS' Morally Obligated to Combat Neocolonialism in Niger and Beyond

Abuja Network News  Editorial
10 October, 2023

The recent military takeover in Niger has sparked widespread reactions and condemnation from around the world. World leaders have called for the restoration of democracy and expressed their disapproval of the coup.

In response to this troubling development, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), under the leadership of Nigeria, held an emergency summit in Abuja. At the summit, ECOWAS collectively condemned the coup and demanded the return of the democratically elected government led by Mohammad Bazoum. They also warned that they were prepared to use force to restore democracy if the coup leaders refused to comply.

This strong stance taken by ECOWAS was quickly supported by France, the United States, Germany, and several European countries. But why do the coup leaders enjoy such support from the people of Niger? Why are they willing to risk war for their cause?

To understand this, let us take a moment for introspection. Coups seem to be popular in Francophone African countries, and they often have significant support. The answer lies in the neocolonialism and imperialistic actions perpetuated by France.

Despite being independent on paper, French colonies in Africa still endure the control and dictatorial influence of the French government. The French colonies in Africa face numerous colonial decrees that continue to hinder their progress. For instance:

1. Every French colony in Africa must deposit 85% of its total revenue in the France Central Bank.
2. None of these colonies can print their own currencies; instead, all currency notes are printed by France, with the colonies having to pay a high percentage for the privilege.
3. French companies are given priority for exploration and mining of mineral resources found in any French colony in Africa. Consequently, these colonies have no autonomy over their own resources until France permits it.
4. French colonies are prohibited from training their military or purchasing arms and ammunition from any country besides France.
5. Only French companies are given the right of first refusal for any contracts awarded in French colonies, preventing local companies from participating until France allows it.
6. Whenever a French colony wants to access funds deposited in the France Central Bank, they must provide a detailed financial report explaining the purpose of the request. Approval or rejection is then determined by France's Ministry of Finance.

These exploitative practices are not only heartless but also constitute a form of wicked imperialism and neocolonialism. It is not surprising that people rise up against such blatant exploitation and abuse of their fundamental human rights.

In light of these circumstances, one must question the significance of democracy in French colonies in Africa. True independence should be achieved before democracy can thrive. Hence, ECOWAS, as well as other African countries, have a moral obligation to stand with Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and all other African nations in their resistance against the heartless exploitation enforced by the French government in Africa.

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