President Bola Tinubu, in his capacity as Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, has taken significant steps to address the crisis in Niger Republic following the military coup that ousted democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum.
On Thursday, President Tinubu dispatched two delegations to engage with key stakeholders in the region. The first delegation, led by Nigerian diplomat Babagana Kingibe, was sent to Libya and Algeria to foster solidarity and cooperation in finding a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger. Kingibe emphasized the importance of diplomacy and peaceful talks to avoid any potential military intervention.
He said, “We don’t want to hold brief for anybody. Our concern is democracy and the peace of the region,” the Nigerian President said.
The second delegation, headed by former Nigerian Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, was tasked with swiftly resolving the current political impasse in Niger. During the meeting with the coup leaders, the delegation presented the demands of the ECOWAS leadership and urged the immediate restoration of power to the elected President.
Speaking after the meeting, Abdulsalami said the delegation would meet the coup leaders in Niger to present the demands of the ECOWAS leadership.
“We have just been given our marching orders to go to Niger and convey the feelings of our Heads of State in the region that they are not happy with what happened.
“And then gave them an ultimatum that the coupists should desist from what they are doing and give back power to an elected President.
“We are going there to convey this message to them and hear their response and report back what they have said,” Abubakar explained.
President Tinubu made it clear that their primary concern is democracy and regional peace rather than adopting the geopolitical positions of other nations. He stressed the need for an amicable resolution and called on all stakeholders to work together toward African peace and development.
The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government previously met in Abuja to discuss the Niger coup, resulting in the imposition of immediate sanctions on Niger, including the closure of land and air borders between member-states and Niger. The bloc also warned of the possibility of using force if the coup leaders do not reinstate the elected President within a one-week ultimatum.
Meanwhile, former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar commended ECOWAS for its role in addressing the crisis but urged the regional body to prioritize diplomatic engagement and avoid resorting to military action, as it could exacerbate the situation.
The statement read, “The crisis in the Republic of Niger requires diplomatic engagements, and that must mean that the channels for dialogue should be well sustained,” he said.
The two delegations are expected to return to the State House before the expiration of the one-week ultimatum given by ECOWAS to the Niger coupists. The situation remains fluid, and diplomatic efforts are underway to find a peaceful and democratic resolution to the crisis in Niger.