• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Niger Republic: Harris, Guterres back plans to restore democracy

Niger Republic: Harris, Guterres back plans to restore democracy

Efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Nigerian government to restore democratic rule in Niger Republic have received a boost from the United Nations and the American government.

In separate telephone conversations with President Bola Tinubu on Thursday evening, Vice President Kamala Harris of the United States, and Antonio Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations (UN), expressed support for Nigeria’s efforts towards the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.

According to Dele Alake, special adviser, special duties, communication and strategy, in a statement on Friday, the two leaders also commended the Nigerian president, who is also the chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for spearheading the peace moves.

Recall that some soldiers from the Presidential Guard, on Wednesday, moved to depose the Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.

President Tinubu had rejected the threat to democracy in that country, sending a strong delegation to talk with all the parties with a view to restoring constitutional order in Niger.

“In her telephone conversation with President Tinubu, at the instance of the US authorities, Harris praised the reform initiatives of the Federal Government, urging the country to continue in that direction.

“While pledging to support democracy in Africa including the West African sub-region, Harris also said the U.S. would assist Nigeria in the battle against terrorism.

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The statement noted that the US vice president spoke on the need for Africa, including Nigeria to embrace energy transitions.

In his response, President Tinubu thanked Harris for the telephone call and her words of encouragement on the efforts taken so far on the economy, but added that “the developments in the Niger Republic dampen spirits.”

He said ECOWAS under his watch would do everything necessary to restore democracy in Niger, while counting on the support of the US.

The president craved more private sector investment in Nigeria, urging the US to lead the way in this regard.

“We had to get rid of the fuel subsidy that is laden with fraud with a few people appropriating the wealth of the country to themselves.

“We would need the US to help push for investments that will help alleviate the effects of subsidy removal in Nigeria. We need foreign direct investment to come in.

“We have abundant gas resources in the country and not being able to fund gas pipelines to Europe and compete in that gas market is a handicap,” he said.

On climate change, the President said Nigeria would stay focused on alternate energy but he pleaded for the developed nations to understand the situation in developing countries including Africa.

The two leaders also spoke on strengthening relations between their two countries and their shared work on global and regional issues.

Other matters that featured in the discussions that lasted about 40 minutes are defending democracy in West Africa and The Sahel and digital inclusion.

Speaking with the UN secretary-general Guterres, President Tinubu said he was doing everything possible to resolve the impasse in Niger.

While expressing the hope that the situation in Niger could still be reversed for the better, he said ECOWAS would require the UN support to restore democracy and build institutions in that country.

Guterres had earlier pledged the commitment of the UN to Tinubu’s peace efforts in Niger.