• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Niger Coup: ECOWAS, FG seek international help restoring democracy

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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.

Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said this while briefing the diplomatic corps on the political situation in Niger Republic on Friday in Abuja.

Lamuwa said the FG and ECOWAS commended the International community for condemning Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani-led coup that ousted Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum from office on Jul. 26.

This is also as they expressed concerns over the safety of Bazoum, who is reportedly held by the military junta in detention.

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

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

“No doubt, the developments in Niger, like Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, have raised serious concerns about regional stability and democratic principles in the region.

“There is concern that the success of the coup in Niger would significantly dampen ECOWAS’s reputation, especially if the country joins the ranks of others that unconstitutional leaders, such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali govern.

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“The ECOWAS authority aims to ensure that the life of President Bazoum, his family members and other political leaders detained alongside him are preserved and their constitutional rights protected.

“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,” Lamuwa stated.

Lamuwa said that military intervention would be the last option the bloc would deploy in restoring democratic rule in Niger if diplomatic engagements with the Niger junta fail.

He also reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment as Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government to ensuring the use of diplomacy to restore democracy in Niger and the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and his members of the cabinet held by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani junta.

“After the military coup led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani in the Republic of Niger on Jul. 26 and the illegal detention of the democratically elected and constitutionally installed President Mohamed Bazoum, President,

“He is committed, along with other ECOWAS leaders, to restoring peace and stability to Nigeriens and the right to choose their leaders through transparent and fair elections,” Lamuwa said.

Lamuwa said other actions taken so far by the authority aimed at pressuring the plotters to restore stability and constitutional order included: the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, the institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger; suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger.

Read alsoNiger Coup: ECOWAS demands junta cede power in 7 days

Other actions already taken included freezing all service transactions, including utility services. Freezing of the Republic of Niger assets in ECOWAS Central Banks; Freezing of Niger and the country’s Enterprises and Parastatals in commercial banks.

Others are the suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, notably the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) and the West African Development Bank (Banque Quest Africaine Du Développement (BOAD).

There are also travel bans and asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup. These sanctions also apply to their family members and the civilians who accept to participate in any institutions or government established by these military officials.

Lamuwa further added that a team of mediators, led by former Head of state, Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalam, was dispatched to Niger to actively engage the coup plotters and also convey the absolute displeasure of ECOWAS at the subjugation of the Nigerien constitution.

Other members of the mediating team include the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Said Abubakar III and Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission.

He also confirmed that a separate delegation led by Amb. Babagana Kingibe was mandated to engage with the leaders of Libya and Algeria.

He added that the objective set by President Tinubu is to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation, which is inexorably linked to peace and development in the region.

At the extraordinary summit on Jul. 30, the authority also mandated a meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) of ECOWAS, which took place on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 in Abuja.