Top-level diplomats from the United Nations, African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are set to assemble in Abuja on Thursday for an emergency Summit addressing the unfolding political situation in Niger Republic.
The purpose of this meeting is to restore constitutional order in Niger, and it will be hosted by President Bola Tinubu, Chairperson of the ECOWAS Heads of States.
This development follows a cautionary statement from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to both the Federal Government and ECOWAS against resorting to military intervention in Niger. Professor Salisu Shehu, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council, emphasized the potential negative socio-economic consequences of punitive measures or sanctions, given the shared history and borders between Nigerians and Nigeriens.
The warning came after former Kano emir, Muhammad Sanusi II, held discussions with Tchiani in Niamey to address the political deadlock stemming from the ousting of President Bazoum.
On Wednesday, Sanusi visited the Presidential Villa and informed Tinubu about his meeting with Niger’s military leader. He refrained from divulging specifics but conveyed that his mission aimed to promote understanding and peace. He clarified that the initiative was not under any governmental or ECOWAS directive but his own effort to mediate.
Responding to questions about his mission’s source, Sanusi remarked, “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.”
In a separate development, Rhissa Ag Boula, a former rebel leader and politician in Niger, has launched a movement opposing the military government that seized power through a coup on July 26. Analysts view this as the first sign of internal resistance against military rule in Niger.