The Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Tinubu, has affirmed the regional blocs’ commitment to peaceful return of democracy in Niger Republic.
He said this in his closing remarks at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the West African country on Thursday in Abuja.
The president expressed his appreciation for member states’ dedication toward efforts in resolving the challenges in Niger.
The Nigerian leader emphasised the remarkable outcome of the summit, which authorised the standby deployment of ECOWAS troops to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger, saying it is a demonstration of the power of collaboration and unity among ECOWAS member states.
He added that “we have reaffirmed our commitment to the people of Niger and to the progress of our entire ECOWAS Community.
“We will continue with that. From the Communiqué of this extraordinary summit, no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as the last resort. If we don’t do it, no one else will do it for us.
“We remain steadfast in supporting Niger in the journey toward peace and democratic stability.
“The road ahead will undoubtedly have challenges, but I firmly believe that with our collective resolve, we can navigate these obstacles and chart a path toward peace and prosperity for Nigeriens and citizens of ECOWAS.
“May our collective efforts pave the way for a brighter future for the Nigerien people and for all Africans. May ECOWAS continue to thrive as a beacon of unity, cooperation, and progress in the region,” Tinubu said.
At the end of the summit, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State issued a unanimous directive to restore constitutional order in Niger.
A communiqué read by Dr Omar Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, said the leaders directed the Committee of the Chiefs of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.
The leaders also issued a stern warning to member states whose actions, whether direct or indirect, impede the peaceful resolution of the Niger crisis.
The communiqué emphasised that such actions would entail consequences within the ECOWAS community.
The leaders noted that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS in resolving the crisis have been repelled at various intervals by the military rulership of the Republic of Niger.
As the one-week ultimatum for the restoration of constitutional order expired, the ECOWAS Authority reiterated its condemnation of the attempted coup d’état and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoom, his family and members of his government.
It condemned the condition in which Bazoum is being detained and holds the junta fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of Bazoum, and members of his family and government.
It upholds all measures and principles agreed upon by the Extraordinary Summit held on July 30 and underscores the determination of the ECOWAS Authority to keep all options on the table for peaceful resolution of the crisis.
It also enforces all measures, in particular, border closure and strict travel ban, as well as assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals hindering peaceful efforts to ensure the smooth and complete restoration of Niger’s constitutional order.
Furthermore, the West African leaders urged African Union to endorse their decisions on the Niger crisis, calling on partner countries and institutions, including the United Nations, to support ECOWAS to ensure quick restoration of constitutional order in Niger.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission was further tasked with overseeing the implementation of sanctions stemming from the initial extraordinary meeting in Abuja.