The ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Abuja is the latest move to discuss tensions in the region. Photo: Reuters

Heads of state across West Africa are meeting on Saturday to discuss the region’s challenges and to call again on three junta-led nations to rescind their decision to quit the regional bloc as well as a plan to review imposed sanctions to reverse the coup in Niger.

Top on the agenda of the 15- nation ECOWAS is the recent decision by Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to leave the block, over “inhumane sanctions”, an unprecedented development since ECOWAS was established in 1975.

“We must reexamine our current approach to the quest for constitutional order in our member states,” Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and current chairman of ECOWAS said at the start of the summit.

“I therefore urge them to reconsider the decision of the three of them to exit their home and not to perceive our organization as the enemy,” he added.

The summit is also expected to review the sanctions imposed on Niger.

This week, one of the bloc’s founding leaders and Nigeria’s former military ruler Yakubu Gowon urged regional leaders to lift those sanctions, noting that the bloc is “more than a coalition of states (but) is a community established for the good of our people.”

ECOWAS has struggled to stem disintegration following recent surge in coups fueled by discontent over the performance of elected governments whose citizens barely benefit from mineral-rich resources.

Click here to follow our WhatsApp channel for more stories.