JUST IN: Niger junta severs ties with Nigeria as peace talks collapse
ECOWAS delegation meeting with representatives of Niger junta

The Niger junta headed by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani has severed ties with Nigeria after attempts by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to negotiate a return to civilian rule failed.

President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, sent a high-powered delegation to the country to meet with the coup leaders.

This followed a seven-day ultimatum issued by ECOWAS for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum to avoid possible clash with the junta.

The delegation led by General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) only met with representatives of the junta.

Subsequently, Niger severed ties with Nigeria, Togo, France, its coloniser, and the United States.

“The functions of the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors of the Republic of Niger” to France, Nigeria, Togo and the United States are terminated,” Radio France International quoted one of the putschists to have said on national television.

The military junta in Niger led by Tchiani, the former Head of Presidential Guard to the ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum, detained Bazoum in a palace coup on July 26, 2023, while Tchiani later declared himself Head of State.

In an attempt to resolve the political crisis in the Niger Republic, the ECOWAS on Thursday dispatched two missions abroad, with the mandate to achieving a resolution to ending the crisis.

A statement on Thursday by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Chairman of the ECOWAS’ Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Tinubu, who dispatched both teams on the mission, charged the General Abubakar’s team with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the crisis in the troubled country.

The mission to Niger Republic which departed for Niamey immediately after President Tinubu’s briefing, was in line with the resolution reached at the end of the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS held last weekend at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The former Nigerian Head of State is joined in the delegation by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray.

Briefing the two delegations, President Tinubu charged them to engage all stakeholders robustly with a view to doing whatever it takes to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation in Niger for the purposes of African peace and development rather than a move to adopt the geopolitical positions of other nations.

“We don’t want to hold brief for anybody. Our concern is democracy and the peace of the region,” the President said.

Speaking after the meeting, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) said the delegation would meet the coup leaders in Niger to present the demands of the ECOWAS leadership.

Both leaders of the two missions expressed optimism about the outcome of the assignments.

Speaking to journalists before departing the Villa for Niamey, former Head of State, General Abubakar, revealed the task his team was charged with, which he said was to express the displeasure of the leaders of the subregion with the developments in Niger to those who hijacked power in the country.

“We have just been given our marching orders to go to Niger and convey the feelings of our heads of state in the region that they are not happy with what happened. And they gave them an ultimatum that the coupists should desist from what they are doing and give back power to an elected President and again, to make sure that this message is sent loud and clear to them.

“That’s what we are here for. So far, we are going there to convey this message to them and hear their response and report back what they have said”, Abubakar said.


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