Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States’ President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, is currently presiding over an Extraordinary Summit of the regional body on the Political Situation in Niger Republic.
The conference, which is taking place at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, is debating recent events in Niger Republic and deciding on the next steps following the junta’s removal of President Mohamed Bazoum.
Sanctions were imposed on Niger during the last ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on July 30 in Abuja, particularly on the coupists. President Bazoum, his family, and government officials who are currently held by the military were all urged to be released immediately.
Reading out the sanctions at the end of that Summit, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, had said “the following measures are to be applied with immediate effect. One, closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger. Two, institution of ECOWAS no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger.
“Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member-states and Niger. Freeze all service transactions, including energy transactions. Freeze assets of the Republic of Niger in ECOWAS Central Banks Freeze of the assets of the Niger state and the state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks.
“Suspension of measure from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly, EBID. Call WAMU (West African Monetary Union) and all other regional bodies to implement this decision.
“Impose travel ban and asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup attempt. The same applies to their family members and the civilians who accept to participate in any institutions or government established by these military officials”, the Authority said.
In an effort to de-escalate the crisis and avert any potential armed intervention, various stakeholders from Nigeria and Niger have been working together to advocate for a diplomatic approach and continued negotiations with both the ECOWAS and the military junta in Niger.
One of the stakeholders, former Emir Sanusi, speaking to State House Correspondents on Wednesday after his meeting with President Tinubu, said he went on the peace mission voluntarily, understanding his responsibility as a leader.
Sanusi emphasised that resolving the crisis requires efforts beyond just governments.
“I came to brief him on the details of my discussions with leaders of Niger. We’ll continue to do our best to bring the two parties together to improve understanding. This is the time for public diplomacy, it’s not a matter that we leave to governments, all Nigerians, all Nigeriens need to be involved to find a solution that works for Africa, a solution that works for Niger that works for Nigeria, and a solution that works for humanity”, he said.
Asked if he was a government emissary on the mission, he said “no, I was not sent by the government. Government officials were aware I was going, but it was my personal initiative, using my personal contacts to get there and I will continue to do my best. It is my duty as a leader to do that”.
Earlier today, however, the Abdourahamane Tchiani-led junta, announced a 21-member cabinet, to be led by Ali Mahaman Liman Zeine, who was appointed as Prime Minister by the military.
Among the Presidents and heads of government attending the meeting are: President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, President Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco of Guinea Bissau, President Everiste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, and President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire.
Others are President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani of Mauritinia, President Nana Akofo-Ado of Ghana, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and President Patrice Talon of Benin Republic.
Those yet to arrive are: Togo Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma, and President Adama Barrow of The Gambia