Niger Junta Now Ready For Dialogue with ECOWAS

Niger Junta Now Ready For Dialogue with ECOWAS

Four days after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders directed immediate activation of the possible use of force against the Niger Republic military leaders, it’s leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani on Sunday expressed his readiness to dialogue with the sub-regional body. The military leader in Niger Republic had refused to meet ECOWAS, AU,

Four days after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders directed immediate activation of the possible use of force against the Niger Republic military leaders, it’s leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani on Sunday expressed his readiness to dialogue with the sub-regional body.

The military leader in Niger Republic had refused to meet ECOWAS, AU, UN and US delegations since the regional body imposed sanctions on the embattled country. But on Sunday, Nigeria’s intervention team comprising prominent Islamic scholars in the country met with the coup leaders in Niger Republic where both parties agreed to intensify the option of dialogue in resolving the political crisis in the West African nation.

The Islamic scholars led by Sheikh Bala Lau met with General Tchiani for several hours in Niger’s capital, Niamey, on Saturday, August 12, 2023, during which they deliberated on all the issues including the demand by ECOWAS leaders that President Mohamed Bazoum be reinstated.

Sheikh Lau, who is the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, in a statement issued on Sunday, August 13, 2023 said the clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Bola Tinubu, the Chairmen of the sub regional bloc, who accepted their request to intervene.

Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, deposed Emir of Kano had also met with General Tchiani last week.

Sheikh Lau said the team had earlier told President Tinubu, that the political impasse in Niger be resolved through dialogue.

He, however, told General Tchiani that the visit to Niger was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis.

According to him, General Tchiani said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter. He, however, lamented that the ECOWAS leaders did not hear their side of the matter before issuing ultimatum to them to quit office.

General Tchiani stated that the coup was well intended, stating that they struck to starve off an imminent threat that would have affected not only Niger but also Nigeria.

The Niger Republic military leader also apologised for not according the team sent by President Tinubu led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), the required attention, saying they were angry about the ECOWAS ultimatum.

Gen. Tchiani while tracing the historical ties between the nations, said Niger Republic and Nigeria were not only neighbours but brothers and sisters who should resolve issues amicably.

Speaking with journalists in Niamey after the meeting, another member of the intervention team and Chief Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Ahmad Abdulrahman, said contrary to reports in some sections of the media, the team was well received by General Tchiani and both parties had fruitful discussions.

Chief Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Ahmad Abdulrahman, who was a member of the team said: “We will now go back home and report to President Tinubu what we have discussed and press it on him that war is not an option in resolving the matter.

“We believe that war is an ill wind that will not blow any good and that peaceful resolution should prevail”, he stressed.

The President of ECOWAS, Omar Alieu Touray while reading the resolution of ECOWAS on the Niger coup at the ECOWAS Extraordinary meeting in Abuja on Thursday directed immediate activation of the use of force against the Niger Republic military junta.

The resolution partly reads: “Direct the committee of the Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS stand-by force with all its elements immediately.

“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS stand-by force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.

The regional body noted that all efforts made to dialogue with Niger Republic military leaders have been defiantly rejected by the coup leaders as they condemn continuous detention of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family members.

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