A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has warned the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) not to travel the road of military hostilities to resolve the leadership crisis in Niger Republic.
President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown on July 26 by his own guard, in the region’s third putsch in as many years following takeovers in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso.
The regional body had threatened military intervention in Niger following the coup in the country.
But in a tweet on Thursday evening, Atiku faulted the plan, saying using military hostilities may exacerbate the status quo. According to him, the crisis requires diplomatic engagements which must mean that the channels for dialogue should be well sustained.
“The military intervention in the Republic of Niger has created tension across the West Africa sub-region, and it is a development that has caused international attention to that neighbouring country of ours,” he said.
“The putsch is even more worrisome because the number of states that have witnessed military intervention in the last three years in the subregion is increasing.”
Atiku, however, commended Nigeria and ECOWAS for the leadership role it has played to resolve the crisis so far.
“Of course, the world expects Nigeria to take up leadership in ensuring that the crisis of political leadership in the Republic of Niger is not just curtailed but also ensuring the restoration of democratic governance in that country.
“While the expectations that fall on Nigeria as the sub-regional leader is not a quick fix, it must be expressed that the role taken so far by the Economic Community of West African States has been commendable,” Atiku added.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 election also warned the “military insurrectionists” in Niger that the world cannot afford to wait for too long before this crisis is resolved reasonably.
“While the world expects Nigeria to take a leading role in this process of peaceful conflict resolution, it must be clear to the military insurrectionists in the Republic of Niger that the world cannot afford to wait for too long before this crisis is resolved reasonably.
“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for the West African region. However, any actions taken towards the prompt resolution of the crisis in the Republic of Niger must prioritize democracy as the ultimate victor,” Atiku maintained.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday, dispatched a delegation to the Niger Republic with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the current political impasse in the country.
The action was in line with the resolution reached at the end of the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS held last weekend in Abuja.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, the delegation, headed by former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), left for Niamey on Thursday following a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.