Femi Falana, a prominent legal expert and human rights campaigner, has thrown light on the troubling tendency of coups within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) described “reckless exploitation of natural resources” as one of the main driving causes behind the disturbing political turmoil and the emergence of unlawful changes in government in a communiqué issued on Thursday.
Falana underlined that external influence and involvement, particularly from former colonial administrations, along with unrestrained extraction of the region’s huge natural resources, has maintained economic inequities.
Such differences, in turn, have fueled public frustrations and complaints, fostering an environment susceptible to coups and power struggles.
Falana 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.”