On Tuesday, ECOWAS Representative to the Niger Republic, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, formally delivered the military junta’s proposed terms to the sub-region for resolving the nation’s political turmoil. General Abubakar, a former Nigerian Military Head of State, reassured that the crisis will unlikely escalate beyond diplomatic channels.
Speaking from the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Abubakar addressed the media after a gathering convened by President Bola Tinubu, who chairs the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. Attendees included Dr. Omar Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser to the President.
Having recently met with ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum and the junta leaders led by Abdouramane Tchiani, General Abubakar conveyed the terms to ECOWAS. He noted that productive correspondence had transpired between the regional bloc and Niger’s military junta, highlighting the success of his role as an envoy.
General Abubakar conveyed optimism that tangible progress would emerge from these efforts, stating, “As you are aware, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have made me an envoy to Niger Republic, and we were there over the weekend to see the military people and discussed to find a way out of the lacuna we find ourselves.
“So that’s why I’m here this afternoon, together with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, to give a report back to Mr. President on our discussions in Niger. I must say that our visit to Niger has been very fruitful and that it has opened an avenue to start talking, and hopefully, we’ll get somewhere.”
Addressing the differing perspectives between the regional bloc and the junta regarding a swift return to democratic governance, Abubakar acknowledged, “We have commenced discussions. Both parties have articulated their viewpoints. I have submitted my report to the ECOWAS Chairman. Following this, consultations will transpire amongst his counterparts, and the negotiation process will ensue, with the hopes of finding common ground.”
In response to inquiries about the potential for military intervention, Abubakar responded, “Hopefully, diplomacy will see the better of this. Nobody wants to go to war, it doesn’t pay anybody, but then again, our leaders have said if all fails, and I don’t think all will fail, we’ll get somewhere, we’ll get out of this mess”.