The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has scheduled yet another meeting on the Niger Crisis.
The regional body had met in Abuja on August and issued a 7-day deadline for the Niger junta to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum or risk sanctions, including possible military intervention.
But rather than reinstate Bazoum, the junta severed ties with Nigeria and some other countries sympathetic to Bazoum’s cause.
The military regime, which declared their Commander General, Abdourahamane Tchiani the new head of state, vowed not to bow to outside pressure.
It also warned against foreign intervention, vowing to defend the territorial integrity of Niger.
On Friday, military chiefs of some West African countries said they had agreed on a plan for possible military intervention in the event push for a diplomatic solution failed.
The chiefs of defence staff from Togo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Cote D’ivoire, Cabo Verde and the Republic of Benin held the meeting in Abuja.
ECOWAS had last week sent a high-powered delegation to broker peace with the coupists but their representatives met with the team led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
On Monday, President Bola Tinubu, who is chairman of ECOWAS, sent a notice of meeting scheduled for Thursday in Abuja.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the
Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) has convened another Extraordinary Summit of the Authority on the political situation in the Republic of Niger. The Summit will hold in Abuja, on Thursday, August 10, 2023.”
“The ECOWAS Leaders will be considering and discussing the political situation and recent developments in Niger during the Summit,” read a statement issued by the regional body.
The coup leaders have not issued any statement on the deadline yet.
Headlinenews correspondents who are now at the Nigerian borders with Niger in Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa and Borno states, said though there was no fight, millions of people are in dire straits due to fear of the unknown occasioned by high cost or shortage of basic necessities of life like food and drugs.
The residents, Nigerians and Nigeriens alike, said they detest war and called on ECOWAS to have a rethink in line with a clarion call by prominent groups and individuals.
The Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) was the latest to call on Tinubu –led regional bloc to trade with caution.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd), the group urged ECOWAS to consider the immediate and long-term implications of its actions on the people of the Niger Republic and the wider West African sub-region.
Also, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, through its Secretary General, Professor Khalid Aliyu commended the efforts so far undertaken by the Nigerian government, particularly the initiation of a dialogue process, aimed at resolving the crisis in Niger Republic.
“While this attempt may not have yielded the desired results, it demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to peaceful resolutions.” JNI also cautioned taking military action against the junta in Niger because of the apparent wider negative implication on Nigeria.