ECOWAS seeks international community’s support as deadline for Niger coup plotters nears



The federal government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have called for support from the international community to restore democratic rule in Niger Republic.


Ibrahim Lamuwa, permanent secretary, ministry of foreign affairs, spoke on Friday while briefing the diplomatic corps on the political situation in Niger.


Lamuwa said there are concerns over the safety of President Mohamed Bazoum who is reportedly still being held by the military junta.


Last Sunday, in a meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS chairperson, the bloc issued sanctions against Niger including the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between member states and the country.


ECOWAS said it would take all necessary measures, including the use of force, if Bazoum is not reinstated within a week of the meeting.


Recall that Tinubu had written the national assembly for backing on military intervention in Niger.


Lamuwa said the deployment of troops would be the last option in restoring democratic rule in Niger if diplomatic engagements with the junta fail, and asked the international community to continue to show solidarity with the bloc.


 “The authority welcomes the immediate condemnation, by the international community, of the coup in Niger and sees this as a huge testimony to the preference for democracy and constitutional rule, vis-a-vis any other form of governance,” the former ambassador to Senegal said.


“Consequently, Nigeria and indeed, ECOWAS, call upon the international community to remain resolute on this stance and to continue to show solidarity to ECOWAS in affirming the superiority of democratic and constitutional rule over dictatorship.”


The diplomat said the recent developments in the neighbouring country, alongside Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea – all countries that have backed the coup in Niger –  have raised serious concerns about regional stability and democratic principles in West Africa.


Lamuwa said there is concern that the success of the coup in Niger would significantly dampen ECOWAS’s reputation, but added that Tinubu is committed to ensuring that an amicable resolution of the situation is reached.


 “The region holds that President Bazoum remains the legitimate president and head of state of the Republic of Niger, recognised and supported by ECOWAS, the AU and the international community and therefore rejects any form of resignation that may purportedly come from him, perhaps under duress,” he said.


Lamuwa added that a separate delegation led by Babagana Kingibe, a former secretary to the government of the federation, was mandated to engage with the leaders of Libya and Algeria on the matter.

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