BY – Oluwafunmilayo Ogedengbe
Barely two weeks into the dramatic change of governance in Niger, the military coup plotters has named former economy minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the country’s new prime minister.
The decision was made public by a spokesman for the military junta on television late on Monday night.
Lamine Zeine was Niger’s Minister of the Economy and Finance from November 2002 to February 2010. He served as Director of the Cabinet of President Mamadou Tandja, Zeine was also appointed to the government as Minister of the Economy and Finance in 2003.
He recently worked as an economist for the African Development Bank in Chad.
This is the most recent move by the military, after it ousted the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum and suspended the constitution in the country of 26 million inhabitants at the end of July.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had given an ultimatum the coup plotters to reinstate Mr Bazoum, which expired on Sunday, without a favorable response.
Following this, leaders of ECOWAS have scheduled an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the crisis in the region. ECOWAS made the announcement on Monday, a day after its deadline to the military junta in Niger to reinstate the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
The meeting will hold in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja to discuss how to proceed.
“President Bola Tinubu, president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and chairman of the authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of the ECOWAS leaders, will be considering and discussing the political situation and recent developments in Niger during the summit” the organisation said.
Meanwhile, the military government is bracing up for a response from ECOWAS after ignoring its deadline to reinstate Bazoum or face the threat of military intervention.
Under Bazoum, Niger had been one of the last strategic partners of the West in the fight against the advance of Islamist terrorists in the Sahel.
Not satisfied with the governance of the country, the military said it seized power because of insecurity and the economic situation, this move has however caused concern that it may seek to switch allegiance to Russia and close French and US bases.