ECOWAS rejects any ‘action that impedes’ Niger Republic’s democracy
The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President Bola Tinubu, has described as unacceptable, the unfolding development in Niger Republic.
“All players in the Republic of Niger, the leadership of the ECOWAS Region and all lovers of democracy around the world will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the democratically-elected government of the country,” Tinubu, the President of Nigeria, said in a swift reaction to the detainment of Niger President Mohamed Bazoum by members of the Presidential Guard, who have been given an “ultimatum” by the army.
Earlier on Wednesday, disgruntled members of the guard sealed off access to the President’s residence and offices, and after talks broke down “refused to release the President.”
Bazoum was democratically elected in 2021, taking the helm of one of Africa’s poorest and most coup-prone countries.
In a swift response to the suspected coup attempt, Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, said ECOWAS leadership will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.
“I wish to say that we are closely monitoring the situation and developments in Niger and we will do everything within our powers to ensure democracy is firmly planted, nurtured, well rooted and thrives in our region.
“I am in close consultation with other leaders in our region, and we shall protect our hard-earned democracy in line with the universally acceptable principle of constitutionalism.
“As the Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, I state without equivocation that Nigeria stands firmly with the elected government in Niger and equally conveys the absolute resolve of leaders in our sub-region that we shall not waiver or flinch on our stand to defend and preserve constitutional order,” Tinubu said.
The development in Niger Republic occurred about two weeks after Tinubu, the new chair of the 15-member regional body, said military takeovers won’t be tolerated in West Africa.
From August 2020 till date, no fewer than five coups have occurred in three West African countries. Whilst those of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea were successfully carried out by juntas, attempts in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau were foiled.
Also, one of Nigeria’s neighbours, Chad, had an unconstitutional change of government led by Lieutenant General Mahamat Idriss Déby after his father died of injuries sustained in clashes with rebels in the country in April 2021