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Niger military junta: ECOWAS requests standby force

The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger Republic.

The President of ECOWAS, Omar Alieu Touray, who made the declaration while reading the resolution of ECOWAS on the Niger coup at the ECOWAS Extraordinary meeting in Abuja on Thursday, also called on the African Union, AU, partner countries, and institutions to support the resolution taken by the sub-regional body.

The sub-regional body said all efforts made to dialogue with the Niger Republic military junta have been defiantly rejected by coup leaders, who condemn the continuous detention of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family members.

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.

“Underscore its continued commitment to the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”

This is as the Niger junta intensified its efforts to consolidate power in the West African nation after it formed a government with the appointment of a prime minister as well as the composition of new cabinet ministers on Thursday.

Resorting now to the use of diplomacy to handle the political situation in Niger, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, says the regional bloc will continue to champion diplomacy and dialogue, as well as earnest discussions with all parties involved, to restore constitutional governance in the Republic of Niger.

President Tinubu also called on fellow leaders to seize this opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of Africans by fostering a future characterized by peace, progress, and prosperity.

Tinubu, whose earlier request to the Nigerian Senate to approve military intervention in Niger was rejected, said while opening the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger that the group will now opt for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, rather than the earlier threatened use of the military.

He said, “In reaffirming our relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that we prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of our approach.

“We must engage all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in earnest discussions to convince them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum.

“It is our duty to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger,” he said.

The Nigerian president, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, underscored the significance of the meeting, stressing the importance of a comprehensive evaluation of progress thus far.

”More specifically, as leaders of our respective nations, we must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.

”By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all,” he said.

Tinubu, who re-emphasized the collective rejection of the military coup in Niger by the West African States leaders, reaffirmed the firm and coordinated efforts already undertaken. President Tinubu outlined ECOWAS’ deployment of mediation teams and Special Envoys to engage with key stakeholders within and beyond the region.

The Nigerian leader also pointed to the recent meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff, the meeting of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee, and the ECOWAS Commission’s memorandum on current developments in Niger as crucial sources of insight to guide the decisions of the Heads of State and Government at the meeting.

“Today’s summit provides a significant opportunity to meticulously review and assess the progress made since our last gathering. It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and identify any gaps or challenges that may have hindered progress.

“It is only through this comprehensive assessment that we can collectively chart a new sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger,” President Tinubu emphasized.

The ECOWAS Chairperson expressed confidence that the 2nd ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit would be a defining moment in the journey towards a stronger, more resilient, and more integrated West Africa.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Presidents of Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Cote dIvoire, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo, while Liberia and the Gambia were represented by their Foreign Ministers.

Non-ECOWAS leaders, such as the Mauritanian and Burundian presidents, also attended.

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