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Nigeria: Tinubu Committed to Peaceful Restoration of Democracy in Niger Republic – Presidency

ECOWAS ordered the activation and deployment of its standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, said he is committed to a peaceful restoration of constitutional democracy in the Niger Republic rather than sacking Abdourahamane Tchiani with force.

Mr Tchiani, the commander of Niger’s presidential guards, sacked the country’s constitutionally-elected government on 26 July, arrested Mohammed Bazoum, the country’s president and dissolved the government.

One of the President’s media aides, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, contrary to the war narrative being speculated by some groups and opposition politicians, said those pushing that the Nigerian government should use the military to remove the junta from power are deliberately spreading fake news or an ignorant of the processes of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mr Abdulaziz made the statement during an interview in Hausa aired by multiple stations in the north on Sunday.

An opposition politician, Naja’atu Muhammad, in a series of media discussions, accused the Nigerian president of planning to cripple economic activities in Northern Nigeria by waging a war on the Niger Republic.

“With the border closer (following the ECOWAS sanction) Goods worth billions of naira belonging to northern Nigerian businessmen were wasted, Ms Muhammad claimed.

But Mr Abdulaziz said the president is mindful of the long-existing bond between Niger and Nigeria in his commitment as ECOWAS chairman to mediating the crisis.

“Using Nigerian military force in Niger is just propaganda and fake news being pushed by some people, but the truth of the matter is that the issue in Niger is being mediated through diplomacy.

“ECOWAS also believes in the diplomatic resolution of the dispute in the Niger, not war. When the incident happened, in less than 24 hours, the president dispatched the first team of delegation to Niger to meet with the military junta but to no avail.

“The president, in his determination to a peaceful resolution, later sent the Chadian President, Mahamat Deby-Itno, to the Niger Republic despite his country not being a member of ECOWAS this was also to no avail.

“The third delegation consists of the respected retired military head of state, Abdulsalam Abubakar and the Sultan of Sokoto, whose caliphate transverse to the Niger Republic; both men were denied access to the military junta but rather were received by junior officers in the negotiation.

“This is the diplomatic effort the president and ECOWAS have employed to ensure the peaceful restoration of democracy in the country.

“This is what has been happening, but other people might have been ignorant of the happening, and propagating about Nigeria going to war with Niger, a president who sees war as an option, won’t make these efforts in this regard, sending three different delegations to address the lingering problem.

“The 14 Emir of Kano, Muhammed Sanusi, also unofficially tried to mediate but was also not successful. A contingent of Nigerian Ulumas was in Niger with the consent of the president for a peaceful resolution.

“We pleaded with the people to contribute with prayers to arrive at a peaceful end, not war and the president is mindful of the business transaction between many states in Nigeria and the people of Niger, and he is hoping to address the problem through diplomacy.

“ECOWAS is only willing to restore the democratically elected government in Niger like what it did in other members countries, not war against the citizens of the country, However, if it warrants for ECOWAS to use force in Niger, it won’t be a war between ECOWAS and Niger people, the forces will only target the coup plotters, not ordinary citizens,” Mr Abdulaziz said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Niger in a bid to have them reinstate Mr Bazoum. It also gave a seven-day ultimatum to the coup plotters which they ignored.

The bloc held another meeting last Thursday where it ordered the activation and deployment of its standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

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