June 13, 2024

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara arrives at the Presidential Palace to meet with his French counterpart in Abidjan, as part of a three day visit to West Africa. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Niger.”

He explained, “As you are well aware, ECOWAS has consistently taken a firm stance against coup d’états in the past. The community has consistently condemned such actions. Coup d’états have had detrimental effects on several countries within the ECOWAS sub-region, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and now Niger. I want to clarify that this is not a conflict between Nigeria and Niger at all.”

He elaborated on the recent decision made by ECOWAS, stating, “The decision we have collectively reached today, though not for immediate implementation, is an ECOWAS decision. All heads of state believe that we’ve made significant efforts to engage in dialogue with the military junta. We’ve sent esteemed individuals such as former President Abdusalami Abubakar and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Sultan of Sokoto, to engage with the people of Niger.”

However, President Ouattara highlighted that the junta is currently holding President Bazoum hostage, which he deemed a terrorist act that cannot be allowed to persist. He continued, “The stance of Cote D’Ivoire, endorsed by all heads of state, is that coupists belong in the barracks; they should combat terrorists rather than unlawfully detain a democratically elected president.”

He concluded, “Our perspective is that this is vital for ECOWAS’s credibility. We are all deeply invested in and committed to this decision.”

It’s worth noting that on Thursday, ECOWAS called for its standby force to intervene and restore constitutional order in Niger Republic. The President of ECOWAS, Omar Alieu Touray, declared this resolution during the ECOWAS Extraordinary meeting in Abuja.

ECOWAS also called on the African Union, partner countries, and institutions to support their resolution. The sub-regional body expressed its disappointment that attempts to engage in dialogue with the Niger military junta were met with defiance, condemning the continued detention of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family members.

The resolution ordered the activation of the ECOWAS standby force and the deployment to reinstate constitutional order in Niger.

The details of any potential military deployment and its impact on Niger are not yet clear. Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, who chaired the crisis meeting, stressed the prioritization of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue while also indicating that all options, including the use of force as a last resort, remain on the table.

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