President Bola Tinubu has asked West African leaders to act swiftly in addressing the ongoing political crisis in Niger.
The leaders on Thursday gathered in Abuja, Nigeria to deliberate on the issue, after the Sunday deadline it gave to the military Junta, elapsed without positive yielding results.
Shifting its position on using forceful means to get the Niger coupists to relinquish power to the democratically elected government of the region, the West African leaders said they firmly supported diplomacy in ending the crisis in Niger.
In agreement, the chairman of the emergency summit, President Tinubu said “we prioritise diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of our approach.”
President Tinubu had in his welcome address to the leaders, captured the importance of diplomatic negotiations and solidarity among nations in resolving the crisis.
He underlined the need for dialogue and cooperation to restore constitutional governance, but warned that the political crisis in Niger posed a significant threat to regional stability.
In his words; “we gather with a profound sense of urgency and firm determination, building upon the commitments made during our first Extraordinary Summit, on the grave political crisis befalling our sister nation.
“During that initial meeting, we voiced our solidarity with the people of Niger and their democratically elected President, H.E Mohamed Bazoum, by condemning the military take over and the unjust detention of their democratically elected President.
As you may recall, we called on the junta to rescind its decision of toppling a legitimate government.
“We proceeded to impose sanctions with the hope that this resolute measure would serve as a catalyst for the restoration of the constitutional order in Niger.
“Regrettably, the seven-day ultimatum we issued during the first Summit has not yielded the desired outcome.
“We have also made diligent efforts through the deployment of various ECOWAS mediation teams, to engage the military junta for a peaceful resolution of the political situation.
“One of the facilitators, former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, would update us on the outcome of his mission to Niamey.”
President Tinubu shared insights from the meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff and the Memorandum by the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
He revealed that these insights would inform the collective decision-making process during the Summit.
In latest development, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has activated its standby force for possible action against the Niger Republic Junta, with the aim of restoring constitutional order in the country.
The decision was announced by the President of ECOWAS, Omar Alieu Touray, while presenting the ECOWAS resolution regarding the recent coup in Niger during the extraordinary meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
In its call for action, ECOWAS also appealed to the African Union (AU), partner countries, and relevant institutions to rally behind the resolution set forth by the sub-regional body.
ECOWAS further lamented about the frustration it has faced with efforts to engage the Niger Junta, who clearly are leaving no room for dialogue.
Furthermore, ECOWAS strongly condemned the ongoing detention of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family members, deeming it unacceptable.
This was also condemned earlier by the US and UN.
In the wake of the meeting of West African leaders in Nigeria, Niger’s junta told a top U.S. diplomat that they would kill the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum if neighboring countries attempted any military intervention to restore his rule.
Representatives of the Junta told U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country this week, a Western military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, officials from the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) were also present at the second Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting in Abuja on the crisis in Niger Republic.