The leader of the coup in Niger Republic, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, has agreed to engage in discussions with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following a meeting with Nigerian Islamic Scholars, led by Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, the national leader of Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), within Niger Republic.
According to Niger Republic’s Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, General Tchiani has given his approval for talks with ECOWAS and expressed optimism that these discussions will occur in the coming days.
‘’We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, as reported by Voice of Nigeria (VON), an account detailed the interaction between Nigeria’s Intervention Team and the coup leaders in Niger. This assembly, comprised of prominent Islamic scholars from Nigeria, convened over the weekend and collectively endorsed the idea of prioritizing dialogue to address the political challenges in the country.
Led by Sheik Bala Lau, the Islamic Ulammas engaged in extensive discussions with General Abdourahmane Tchiani for numerous hours within Niger’s capital, Niamey. During this discourse, they covered a range of topics, including the demand from ECOWAS leaders for the reinstatement of former President Bazoum.
Bala Lau, serving as the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, conveyed that they were representing President Bola Tinubu, who welcomed their appeal to mediate. Sheik Lau informed President Tinubu, also the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, that their stance was centered on resolving Niger’s political deadlock through dialogue.
He conveyed to General Tchiani that their visit aimed to initiate a constructive dialogue, encouraging him and other military figures involved in the coup to pursue peaceful resolutions instead of resorting to conflict. In response, General Tchiani extended a warm reception, appreciating their intervention. He expressed a willingness to explore diplomatic and peaceful avenues to address the situation.
However, General Tchiani lamented that the ECOWAS leaders had not given them an opportunity to present their side of the matter before issuing an ultimatum for them to step down from their positions. He asserted that the coup was carried out with good intentions, as it aimed to counteract an impending threat that would have impacted not just Niger Republic but also Nigeria.
He also offered apologies for not according the team sent by President Tinubu, led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), the due attention, citing their frustration with the ECOWAS ultimatum.
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