President Bola Tinubu on Thursday said it is crucial that ECOWAS prioritises diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of its approach to restoring democracy in Niger Republic.
Tinubu said this during his welcome address at the Second ECOWAS Summit on Niger coup which held in Abuja.
The Chairman of ECOWAS said, “In reaffirming our relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that we prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of our approach.
“We must engage all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in earnest discussions to convince them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum. It is our duty to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger.”
Tinubu recalled that ECOWAS, in its last meeting called on the junta to rescind its decision of toppling a legitimate government and proceeded to impose sanctions with the hope that this resolute measure would serve as a catalyst for the restoration of the constitutional order in Niger.
“Regrettably, the seven-day ultimatum we issued during the first Summit has not yielded the desired outcome. We have also made diligent efforts through the deployment of various ECOWAS mediation teams, to engage the military junta for a peaceful resolution of the political situation. One of the facilitators, former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, would update us on the outcome of his mission to Niamey.
“Similarly, as part of a coherent diplomatic initiatives, Special Envoys were dispatched to non-ECOWAS nations, particularly Libya and Algeria. During these engagements, the Envoy designated for Libya had the privilege of an audience with the President of Libya.
“This discourse resulted in an unequivocal expression of support for the resolutions adopted by ECOWAS aimed at restoring constitutional governance in Niger. In Algeria, the Envoy was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the President of the country. These initiatives are aimed at presenting a cohesive and united stance regarding the ongoing circumstances in Niger, thus showing a collaborative and concerted approach among African nations,” he stated.
He said today’s Summit provided a significant opportunity to meticulously review and assess the progress made since the last gathering.
“It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and identify any gaps or challenges that may have hindered progress. Only through this comprehensive assessment can we collectively chart a sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger,” he said.
More specifically, Tinubu stated that as leaders of respective nations, “we must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region. By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all.”
The Nigerian president said he was confident that this 2nd ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the Socio-Political Situation in the Republic of Niger would be a defining moment in the journey towards a stronger, more resilient, and integrated West Africa.