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The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, on Thursday in Abuja beat a tactical retreat from the use of military force to restore constitutional governance in the Republic of Niger.
Chairman of the regional bloc, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while addressing his colleagues, gave the hint saying that the ECOWAS will instead continue to champion diplomacy and dialogue, as well as earnest discussions with all parties involved.
He specifically said that it is the duty of ECOWAS to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger.
President Tinubu in his capacity as the Chairman of ECOWAS, said in Abuja at the opening of the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger, that in reaffirming members’ relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that that they prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue as the bedrock of their approach.
Tinubu further said; “We must engage all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in earnest discussions to convince them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum”.
Underscoring the significance of the meeting, Tinubu stressed the importance of a comprehensive evaluation of progress thus far, adding that more specifically, as leaders of their respective nations, they must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.
In his words; “By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all”.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said that building upon commitments from the initial Extraordinary Summit held in Abuja ten days ago, President Tinubu recollected the ECOWAS leaders’ collective condemnation of the military coup that toppled Niger’s democratically elected government.
Highlighting the firm and coordinated efforts already undertaken, the President outlined ECOWAS’ deployment of mediation teams and Special Envoys to engage with key stakeholders within and beyond the region.
Tinubu also pointed to the recent meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff, the meeting of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee, and the ECOWAS Commission’s memorandum on current developments in Niger as crucial sources of insight to guide the decisions of the Heads of State and Government at the meeting.
According to Tinubu; “Today’s Summit provides a significant opportunity to meticulously review and assess the progress made since our last gathering. It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and identify any gaps or challenges that may have hindered progress.
“It is only through this comprehensive assessment that we can collectively chart a new sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger,” he stressed.
President Tinubu expressed confidence that the 2nd ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit would be a defining moment in the journey towards a stronger, more resilient, and integrated West Africa.
He, therefore, rallied fellow leaders to seize this opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of Africans by fostering a future characterized by peace, progress, and prosperity.
The opening ceremony was attended by the Presidents of Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Cote ‘d’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo, while Liberia and the Gambia were represented by their Foreign Ministers.
Non-ECOWAS leaders, such as the Mauritanian and Burundian presidents, also attended.