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Tinubu meets ECOWAS President, Abdulsalami, Ribadu over Niger Republic crisis

President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, met with the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Omar Touray; and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, at the Aso Villa.

The National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Nuhu Ribadu, was also in the meeting held to discuss the coup in neighbouring Niger Republic.

Abdulsalami had led ECOWAS delegation to Niger over the weekend for “final” negotiations for a return of power to deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.

Abdulsalami briefed Tinubu in his capacity as ECOWAS chairperson on the details of the meeting with the junta leaders.

After his meeting with Tinubu on Tuesday, the envoy said he is hopeful that diplomacy will help resolve the political situation in Niger Republic without a recourse to the use of the military option.

Abdulsalami described the meetings in Niger Republic as fruitful.

The coup leader, Abdourahamane Tiani, had said the junta will return to civilian rule within three years but ECOWAS rejected the move.

Meanwhile, the African Union has suspended Niger Republic over the ongoing situation.

Army officers toppled Bazoum on July 26, prompting the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to threaten to use force to reinstate him.

ECOWAS agreed to activate a “standby force” as a last resort to restore democracy in Niger.

It has said it is ready to act, even as it continues to pursue hopes for a diplomatic solution.

The coup has heightened international worries over the Sahel, which faces growing jihadist insurgencies linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Niger is the fourth nation in West Africa since 2020 to suffer a coup, following Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali.

The juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali have said that any military intervention in their neighbour would be considered a “declaration of war” against their countries.

The coup is the fifth in Niger’s history since the impoverished landlocked state gained independence from France in 1960.

Bazoum’s election in 2021 was a landmark, opening the way to the country’s first peaceful transition of power.

He has been held with his family at the president’s official residence since the coup, with growing international concern over his conditions in detention.


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