Leaders from West African bloc have commenced a second emergency summit on the coup in Niger, after the country’s military chiefs defied an ultimatum to restore the elected president.
Many West African leaders including the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Bola Tinubu, converged in Abuja, Nigeria’s political capital, on Thursday.
United Nations and African Union representatives were in attendance.
Tinubu, who declared the extraordinary meeting opened, said the coup in neighbouring Niger has far-reaching effects on democratically constituted governments in the sub-region.
He stressed on the need to prioritise diplomatic negotiations and dialogue with the junta in Niger.
He said, “Moreso, 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.
“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.”
After Tinubu’s remarks, the meeting entered a closed-door session.
Two weeks after the coup that toppled Mohamed Bazoum who assumed power in 2021, ECOWAS said it is seeking a diplomatic solution but has not ruled out using force to resolve the crisis.
Important decisions are expected from today’s gathering in Abuja.
Struggling to stem a cascade of coups among its members since 2020, the bloc gave the troops who seized power on July 26 until last Sunday to reinstate 63-year-old Bazoum or face the potential use of force.
Nigeria has also cut off electricity supply to Nigeria amid a flurry of economic sanctions including border closure.
But the coup leaders remained defiant and the deadline passed without action.
– Channels TV