Our meeting with Niger coup leaders has been very fruitful — General Abdulsalami


Abdulsalami says communication has commenced between the ECOWAS and the junta.

Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the former Head of State of Nigeria, is at the forefront of ECOWAS’ delegation to Niger, engaging in a dialogue with the junta.

Heading the ECOWAS mission to Niger, General Abdulsalami Abubakar affirms that the discussions held with the coup leaders have initiated a pathway for constructive conversations.

Abdulsalami maintains his optimism that diplomatic solutions will prevail, despite ECOWAS’ stance of potential military intervention to address the crisis within the nation.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the former Head of State informs that he has submitted a comprehensive report on the outcomes of their deliberations with the military authorities in Niger to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

During his sojourn in the country, Abdulsalami engaged with both the deposed President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, and the coup instigators led by General Abdouramane Tiani.

He articulates, “In accordance with my role as an envoy to Niger Republic, assigned by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, we recently conducted discussions with the military representatives in the nation to chart a course out of the current dilemma.”

Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar (left) with an ECOWAS representative at the state house to brief President Bola Tinubu on visit to the military junta in Niger. [Punch] Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar (left) with an ECOWAS representative at the state house to brief President Bola Tinubu on visit to the military junta in Niger

He continues, “Consequently, I stand here today, alongside the President of the ECOWAS Commission, to furnish Mr. President with a comprehensive update on our engagements in Niger. The visit has borne fruitful results, initiating a platform for dialogue that holds the promise of progress.”

Abdulsalami conveys that he has relayed the junta’s stipulations to the ECOWAS and emphasizes that communication channels have been activated between the two entities.

“Communications have been initiated, wherein both parties have conveyed their respective viewpoints. Following these exchanges, I have presented my findings to the Chair of the ECOWAS Heads of State and President. Subsequent deliberations will involve consultations among them, with the aspiration of advancing towards a resolution,” he states.

While expressing his hope that resorting to military measures can be averted by both sides, the former Head of State asserts that the desire to evade armed conflict is mutual.

“Optimistically, diplomacy will triumph in this circumstance. The prospect of war is undesirable for all parties involved. However, our leaders have articulated that if all peaceful efforts prove ineffective—and I hold the conviction that they won’t—we will collectively navigate out of this intricate situation.”

In the meantime, the leader of the Niger junta conveyed a three-year plan for transitioning power through a televised address last Saturday. However, ECOWAS has rebuffed this proposal, maintaining its stance that the restoration of democracy in Niger is non-negotiable.

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