The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has taken steps to restore democratic order in Niger Republic by dispatching the president of Benin, Patrice Talon, on an intervention mission to the troubled nation.

This followed reports yesterday morning that President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, had been seized by his presidential guards, with the Presidential Palace in Niamey, the capital of Niger, cordoned off by military vehicles.

President Bola Tinubu, who is also Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, reacted to the development with a warning that ECOWAS would not tolerate untoward acts that could hinder smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.

A high-powered delegation from Nigeria, yesterday, arrived in Niamey, capital of Niger Republic, to engage with the coup plotters, amid the ongoing political crisis. The delegation reportedly comprised former governors, a top diplomat and military leaders.

Tinubu, in a statement he personally signed, titled, “Unpleasant Developments in Niger Republic”, pledged to be undeterred in his pursuit and defense of constitutional order in the region.

Sends Beninese President on Intervention Mission

The Nigerian president, who met with his Beninese counterpart at State House, Abuja, directed that the Beninese president immediately proceed to Niger on an intervention mission.

Speaking with newsmen after the meeting with Talon, Tinubu affirmed that the meeting had to do with the political unrest in Niger, and that the Benin president was heading to the troubled country already.

Speaking on the essence of the meeting, Tinubu said it was on the situation in Niger, and “of our neighbor and the military misbehavior in that particular country and that is what he’s here for.”

Asked if the sub-regional commission would launch an immediate action on the development or plan towards it, Tinubu said, “He’s going there now, he’s on his way to Niger Republic.”

Tinubu Says Regional Leadership Won’t Tolerate Acts That Hinder Smooth Functioning of Legitimate Authority

The president’s statement observed, in part, “Information filtering in from the Republic of Niger indicates some unpleasant developments around the country’s highest political leadership.

“It should be quite clear to all players in the Republic of Niger that the leadership of the ECOWAS Region and all lovers of democracy around the world will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the democratically-elected government of the country.

“The ECOWAS leadership will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.

“I wish to say that we are closely monitoring the situation and developments in Niger and we will do everything within our powers to ensure democracy is firmly planted, nurtured, well rooted and thrives in our region.

“I am in close consultation with other leaders in our region, and we shall protect our hard-earned democracy in line with the universally acceptable principle of constitutionalism.

Pledges Not to Waiver in Defense Of Constitutional Democracy

“As the Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, I state without equivocation that Nigeria stands firmly with the elected government in Niger and equally conveys the absolute resolve of leaders in our sub-region that we shall not waiver or flinch on our stand to defend and preserve constitutional order.”

Talon said he came to reason with Tinubu on the development in their mutual neighbor’s territory, so that the situation could be summarily dealt with. Speaking in French, he said steps would be taken swiftly, starting immediately, to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Talon said, “I am here with President Tinubu because of the situation for the ECOWAS and President Tinubu, who is President of Nigeria, Niger’s neighbor, with President of Benin, equally Niger’s neighbor, so we take things seriously and act rapidly.

“I believe all the means will be employed, as needed, for constitutional order to be re-established in Niger, but the goal is for there to be peace and unity.

“So, as the president has already said, the mediation actions will be reinforced even starting this evening, so that the situation is regulated peacefully.

“Even when what is not acceptable is being done, it is necessary for us to correct that by peaceful means. It’s our first option. And we assure you that it will be successful.”

Nigerian Delegation Arrive Niamey, Engages Coup Plotters

A high-powered delegation from Nigeria arrived in Niamey, capital of Niger Republic, yesterday, to engage with the coup plotters, amid the ongoing political crisis.

Sources confirmed that the delegation included the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Senator Aminu Masari; Director General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Hassan Abubakar.

The delegation was in Niamey to facilitate dialogue and to seek a peaceful resolution to the coup attempt in Nigeria’s northern neighbor.

The delegation’s arrival marked a crucial step towards fostering diplomatic efforts and mediating discussions between the involved parties.

Their presence emphasized Nigeria’s concern over the unfolding events in the country and the shared commitment to finding a resolution through dialogue.

That was not the first time Nigeria would be sending a delegation to an ECOWAS member state following threat to democracy. The country intervened in The Gambia after former President Yahya Jammeh lost the December 1, 2016 elections and refused to step down.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari led three West African Heads of State to The Gambia to persuade Jammeh to step down without success, before Nigeria was compelled to deploy its air and personnel assets to enforce the result of Gambia’s election.

In a show of force, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on January 18, 2017, moved a contingent of 200 men and air assets comprising fighter jets, transport aircraft, light utility helicopter as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Dakar, Senegal, from where they could deploy into Gambia.

A source said, “The presence of Nigeria’s Chief of the Air Staff on the delegation is a subtle message to the Niger Republic coup plotters that Nigeria means business and is ready to enforce democracy along its borders.”



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