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 the Niger Republic.
Ibrahim Lamuwa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sought support while briefing the diplomatic corps on the political situation in the Niger Republic on Friday in Abuja.
Mr Lamuwa said the federal government 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 July 26.
This is also as they expressed concerns over the safety of Mr 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 huge testimony to the preference for democracy and constitutional rule, vis-a-vis any other form of governance.
“Consequently, Nigeria and, indeed, ECOWAS, call upon the international community to remain resolute on this stance and to continue to show solidarity to ECOWAS in affirming the superiority of democratic and constitutional rule over dictatorship.”
Mr Lamuwa stressed that the coup in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso raised concerns about regional stability and ECOWAS’ reputation.
“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,” Mr Lamuwa stated.
Mr Lamuwa said 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 the 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 Mr Bazoum and his cabinet members held by the military junta.
“He (Mr Tinubu)is committed, along with other ECOWAS leaders, to restoring peace and stability to Nigeriens, as well as the right to choose their leaders through transparent and fair elections,” Mr Lamuwa said.
During a meeting last Sunday, sanctions were slammed on the coup plotters. West African leaders gave the military junta one week to give up power or face possible military intervention.
Mr Lamuwa said 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.
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 Mr Tinubu is to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation, which is inexorably linked to peace and development in the region.