A significant development unfolded as a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by former head of state Abdulsalami Abubakar, engaged in discussions with Mohamed Bazoum, the deposed president of Niger Republic.
The distinguished delegation, which also included Muhammad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, and Omar Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, was warmly received by Ali Lamine Zeine, Niger’s Prime Minister, on a Saturday afternoon in the capital city of Niamey.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, underscored the gravity of the situation, noting that this engagement marked ECOWAS’ final diplomatic effort prior to considering military intervention. Musah conveyed his remarks at the conclusion of a two-day meeting held in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
ECOWAS has reiterated its commitment to employing force as a last resort to reinstate democracy in Niger, indicating that a discreet “D-Day” for potential military intervention has been identified. While expressing the readiness of troops to act, Musah emphasized that diplomatic avenues remain the preferred approach for restoring stability in Niger.
Despite concerted endeavors by nations and global entities to reach an amicable resolution with the mutinous soldiers, peaceful negotiations have proven futile. In a previous attempt, an ECOWAS delegation led by Abdulsalami Abubakar had sought to meet both Mohamed Bazoum and Abdourahamane Tiani, the leader of the coup, but was unable to do so. Additionally, a tripartite peace mission proposed by ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN) was rejected by the military junta at the eleventh hour.
Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, media aide to President Bola Tinubu, who also holds the position of ECOWAS Chairperson, shared a photograph on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), capturing the ECOWAS delegation’s meeting with President Bazoum. However, specific details regarding the outcome of the discussions were not provided by Abdulaziz. This meeting remains a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to restore stability and democratic governance in Niger Republic.