Youth for Peace and Security Africa (YPS-Africa) is seeking $6billion compensation from ECOWAS for victims and citizens of Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso, who suffered illegal, harsh, and unnecessary sanctions placed on them during coup d’états in those countries.
YPS-Africa, a subsidiary of Citizen Network of Peace and Security in Africa (CNPSA), a non-governmental organisation, said it had contracted lawyers to file a $6 billion suit at the ECOWAS Court in Abuja.
Mr Abraham Korblah Klutsey, Executive Director, YPS-Africa, who was speaking at a press conference in Accra, said though the amount sought would not bring back those who had died as a result of the sanctions, it would act as a respite to victims and families who had lost their loved ones.
According to Mr Klutsey, when the suit is filed, the respondent (ECOWAS) would respond in a month’s time and a date would be fixed by the ECOWAS Court for the hearing.
During the tenure of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the head of ECOWAS, the Community placed sanctions on those countries following military takeovers.
Due to the sanctions, Mr Kutsey said, citizens of Mali for example, had commercial and financial transactions suspended, while assets of public and private enterprises were frozen.
“The above sanctions meant ordinary people could not send or receive money; they could not import or export goods and services, both small and big businesses were forced to close down, people lost their jobs, and they became poorer and sick people did not have any money to pay for critical medicines.”
“Over 300 people died, thousands of small and big businesses closed down and some may never come back, and thousands of jobs were lost, sending people into severe poverty as a result of ECOWAS’s sanctions,” he stressed.
Mr Klutsey said the victims ought not suffer any punitive punishment for the actions of others and asked ECOWAS Heads of State to review sanctions in line with International human rights standards, adding, sanctions must not target innocent citizens.
To curb coups in West Africa, Mr Klutsey appealed to leadership of ECOWAS to help and work with the current leaders of Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso to fight surging terrorism and ensure stability.