…ECOWAS delegation meets imprisoned President Bazoum
Delegation of ECOWAS led by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) and Niger Imprisoned President Bazoum
A delegation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) led by a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) has met with Niger Imprisoned President Bazoum and Coup Leader, coup leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani in capital Niamey on Saturday.
The group which was led that by former Nigeria’s military leader, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and ECOWAS commission President Omar Touray.
Coup leaders’ acceptance of the mission signals a potential willingness to negotiate after ECOWAS doubled down on its threat to use force as a last resort to restore democracy, saying an undisclosed “D-Day” had been agreed for possible military intervention.
The ECOWAS delegation during the previous visit were snubbed when the Junta refused to receive them.
Meanwhile after the meeting, General Abdourahamane Tchiani said the military would hand over power to a civilian government within the next three years.
Un a televised broadcast on Saturday night, said within a month, the junta will form a committee to study and form the new constitution of the country.
While he maintained that Niger does not want to go to war, the General said the county will defend itself if the need arises.
He, however, added that the door for negotiation was still open.
ECOWAS is yet to react to the speech of the junta leader but Abdulsalami is expected to brief the regional bloc on the outcome of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Niger’s military-appointed prime minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, assured that the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum would be safe and unharmed.
Recall President Bola Tinubu Friday warned that impending ‘grave consequences’ should the military rulers of Niger allow Bazoum’s health to deteriorate while under house arrest.
Niger’s new rulers have so far shown little flexibility and warned against an “illegal aggression”.
Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers turned out in central Niamey on Saturday answering a call to register as civilian auxiliaries who could be mobilised to support the army.
This is coming on the heels of ECOWAS force readiness to intervene in Niger ‘anytime the order is given’, after a two-day meeting of the regional bloc’s military chiefs in Accra, capital city of Ghana.