Power supply from Nigeria to the Republic of Niger was halted on Wednesday as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sanctions against the country intensified.
ECOWAS, led by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, imposed sanctions on military personnel in Niger who toppled President-elect Mohamed Bazoum last week. These measures include freezing “all service transactions, including energy transactions.”
Nigeria’s power sector insiders confirmed the cut in supply, and AFP reported that Nigeria had indeed suspended electricity supply to Niger. A source close to the Nigerien Electricity Company (Nigelec) management stated that this action was in line with ECOWAS sanctions.
However, experts cautioned that the Nigerian government should tread carefully in this situation as Nigelec is under a contract with Nigerian power firm Mainstream Energy for electricity supply. Nigeria exports electricity to Benin and Niger under various agreements.
The cut in power supply follows Nigeria’s export of electricity worth N23.13 billion to neighboring countries in 2022. Niger is exploring ways to reduce its energy dependence on Nigeria by completing its first dam by 2025, which could generate 629 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually.
The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff and ECOWAS Committee of Chief of Defence Staff President, Gen. Christopher Musa, emphasized the need for a united response to restore democracy in Niger after a coup. ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatau Musah, stressed the importance of acting on the Niger coup to prevent it from spreading to other countries in the region.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, expressed support for ECOWAS’s stance on the military coup in Niger and emphasized the importance of peace and democracy in the region.
In the aftermath of the coup, Niger’s new military government reopened land borders and airspace with five neighboring countries, and France and Italy began evacuating their citizens from the country.