ECOWAS Orders Niger Junta to Reinstate Ousted President in One Week or Be Forced Out

 ECOWAS Orders Niger Junta to Reinstate Ousted President in One Week or Be Forced Out

Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rose from an emergency extraordinary meeting in Abuja, yesterday, with a call on the coup plotters in Niger Republic to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum within seven days or be forced out by military action.
The ECOWAS leaders, who insisted that Bazoum was the legitimate president of Republic of Niger, also mulled other decisive actions, including imposition of sanctions.

But the country’s military leaders, who ousted Bazoum on Wednesday and took over government, warned the ECOWAS leadership not to send troops to the Republic of Niger.
Foundation for Peace Professionals, also known as PeacePro, also called on African Union (AU) and ECOWAS not contemplate military intervention in Niger Republic.

In a communique issued at the end of the Extraordinary Summit on Socio-Political Situation in the Republic of Niger, read by President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, the leaders rejected any purported resignation by Bazoum and declared him as the only recognised president by ECOWAS, AU, and the international community.

According to the communique, only official acts of Bazoum or his duly-mandated officials would be recognised by ECOWAS.
The leaders expressed strong condemnation of the attempted overthrow of constitutional order in Niger, and the illegal detention of Bazoum as well as members of his family and government.

They demanded full restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger and considered Bazoum’s detention as a hostage situation. The ECOWAS leadership held the authors of the coup d’état solely and fully responsible for the safety of Bazoum and his family.
In the event the demands of ECOWAS were not met within one week, the leaders said they would take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.

“Such measures may include the use of force for this effect, the Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately,” the leaders said.
ECOWAS leaders also condemned the pronouncement of support for the Niger putsch by foreign governments and foreign private military contractors, while expressing appreciation to various governments and partners for their stance and solidarity.

The summit hosted by President Bola Tinubu, in his capacity as Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, agreed to appoint and dispatch a special representative to deliver the demands of the authority to the military leaders in Niger.
In further response to the coup, the summit announced immediate sanctions on Niger, including the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, establishment of no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger, and suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger.

Furthermore, assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Bank, Niger state enterprises, and parastatals in commercial banks would be frozen, the ECOWAS leaders said. They added that Niger would be suspended from all financial assistance and transactions with financial institutions within ECOWAS.
Additionally, travel bans and asset freezes were imposed on the military officials involved in the coup, as well as their family members and civilians, who accept to participate in any institution or government established by the military.

In his closing remarks at the summit, Tinubu thanked fellow leaders, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Head of the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Santos Simaõ, for their active engagement and invaluable contributions to the discussions.

The Nigerian president said, “As we come to the close of this extraordinary summit on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger, I send my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your active engagement in our open and closed door meeting.

“Your invaluable contributions to our discussions have got us this far and hopefully, we will achieve our objective. The essence of African unity and solidarity is hereby reaffirmed. Our unwavering commitment to democracy, peace and prosperity is hereby resolved.

“Throughout our deliberations, we have recognised that the challenges faced by Niger are inter-connected with broader issues affecting our region.
“As African leaders, it is our shared responsibility to foster stability and progress, placing the wellbeing of our people at the forefront of our endeavours, and working together towards their prosperity and happiness must always consistently, be our goals and consistently.

“We will stand with our people in freedom and our commitment to the rule of law and not the barrel of gun. Africa has come of age. We reject coup and interruption to constitutional order. Thank you for coming.”
Presidents Patrice Talon of Benin Republic, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, Adama Barrow of The Gambia, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea Bissau, Macky Sall of Senegal, and Faure Gnassingbé of Togo attended the summit. The presidents of Cape Verde, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were represented.

But the Niger coup plotters warned ECOWAS not to send troops to the country.
The head of Niger’s powerful presidential guard, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar Tchiani, declared himself leader while the country’s elected president, Bazoum, has been held by the military since the coup took place last week.

The military leaders in Niger warned against any military intervention, in a statement read on Niger national television.
Aljazeera quoted the military spokesperson, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, as saying, “The objective of the ECOWAS meeting is to approve a plan of aggression against Niger through an imminent military intervention in Niamey in collaboration with other African countries that are non-members of ECOWAS, and certain Western countries.”

In a related development, Foundation for Peace Professionals, also known as PeacePro, called on AU and ECOWAS not to think of military intervention in Niger Republic.
PeacePro maintained that no foreign nation or organisation had authority to intervene militarily in any sovereign nation over internal issues.
In a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday by Executive Director of PeacePro, Mr. Abdulrazaq Hamzat, against the backdrop of the decision of the ECOWAS leadership to use force against the coupists in Niger Republic, the group said it supported the strong position of AU and ECOWAS on the restoration of democratic order in the country and all other proposed measures, except military intervention.

According to the statement, military option should not be contemplated, as military intervention will turn West Africa into a battle zone between foreign powers and arm dealers and no matter the good intention behind it, the outcome will be catastrophic for the continent.

Hamzat also explained that no international law permitted military intervention in any country, except for peace keeping operations and should AU and ECOWAS contemplate such intervention, foreign powers may also justify their numerous illegal operations and other future interventions through the same process.
“Military intervention in Niger Republic amounts to digging Africa’s grave and nobody digs his or her own grave,” Hamzat said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.