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Niger: ECOWAS weighs fresh options as junta calls bluff of ultimatum

Schedules meeting of member states Thursday

As the seven-day Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ultimatum to the military junta in the Niger Republic elapses, leaders of the West African sub-region may have opted to weigh other options following total rejection of the use of force by my member states and warnings from western allies.
Recall that the Nigerian senate rejected a request by President Bola Tinubu, who is the chairman of ECOWAS member states, to approve military intervention in the political impasse in the tiny West African country.
Leaders of the ECOWAS member states have scheduled a fresh meeting over the Niger Republic coup, as the deadline earlier set for the military junta has elapsed.
The leaders had earlier met in Abuja, where a 7-day deadline was issued for the Niger junta to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum or risk sanctions, including possible military intervention.
But the junta, in response to the threat and sanctions, severed ties with Nigeria and some other countries that asked it to return the ousted president, Mohammed Bazoum to power, facing sanctions and military invasion.
The military regime, which declared their Commander General, Abdourahamane Tchiani the new head of state, vowed not to bow to outside pressure.
It also warned against foreign intervention, vowing to defend the territorial integrity of Niger, even as it received support from sister West African state military regimes in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Military chiefs of some West African countries had agreed on a plan for possible military intervention in the event the push for a diplomatic solution failed.
The chiefs of defence staff from Togo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Cote D’ivoire, Cabo Verde and the Republic of Benin held the meeting in Abuja.
ECOWAS had last week sent a high-powered delegation to broker peace with the coupists, but their representatives met with the team led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
But following the collapse of talk and the total rejection of the use of force by member state parliaments, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who is chairman of ECOWAS, sent a notice of meeting scheduled for Thursday in Abuja on Monday.
A statement issued by ECOWAS reads, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has convened another Extraordinary Summit of the Authority on the political situation in the Republic of Niger. The summit will be held in Abuja, on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
“The ECOWAS Leaders will be considering and discussing the political situation and recent developments in Niger during the Summit.”
Ezeocha Nzeh
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