The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged a swifter transition from the junta in Niger.
President Bola Tinubu, who leads the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, conveyed the organization’s stance to the Ulamas during a meeting on Thursday. The military leaders’ proposal of a three-year transition was deemed unsatisfactory by ECOWAS.
Tinubu conveyed to the Islamic delegation that the military junta must be answerable for jeopardizing the entire population of the Niger Republic.
“They cannot wield the gun entrusted to them for safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and then turn it against it.”
According to PUNCH, Sheikh Abdulrahman Ahmad, a representative of the Islamic clerics who met with President Tinubu, revealed this information.
The Ulamas convened with the Niger junta to avoid military intervention aimed at reinstating democracy in the Francophone nation, a plan endorsed by ECOWAS.
During their interaction, the junta leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani, expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue to address the political deadlock arising from the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum in the July 26 coup.
Additionally, the Ulamas were asked to appeal to Tinubu to restore electricity, which had been cut off from Niger due to ECOWAS sanctions.
Ahmad, acting as the Ulamas’ spokesperson, explained the outcome of their meeting with the President. Tinubu emphasized the necessity for military leaders to provide concrete details of their transition plan, which should also be concise.
He stated, “Our purpose on Thursday was to inform him (ECOWAS chairman) about the results of our visit. He requested us to return because he needs specifics from the junta. He found their response too vague and was not satisfied with that. This is why he instructed us to return.”
“The President desires clear specifics. The junta leader’s statements were too broad. They want to establish a timeline, commitments, and precise details about the short transition period.”
Regarding their next visit to Niamey, the cleric remarked, “We are deliberating on the most suitable time for our members to go back and when it would be convenient for the recipients to receive us.”
“We have yet to set a date for our return. It’s important to note that we are not an official government delegation. The initiative to intervene came from the Ulamas privately. It is not a government-established committee. We strive to facilitate a peaceful resolution for the conflict without force.”
“We sought the President’s permission because this isn’t something we can undertake independently, especially with another country involved. The President permitted us. He is the ECOWAS chairman, and we kept him informed each time we met with the Nigerien people. But it primarily hinges on our delegation’s convenience. We will regroup, and then we will proceed.”