Lagos, Nigeria: In a diplomatic push to address the political turmoil stemming from the July coup in Niger, Nigeria, as the current chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is calling for the release of ousted Niger President Mohamed Bazoum.
The move comes as part of ongoing efforts to restore civilian rule in the region, marked by a series of coups that have raised concerns about stability and democracy.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar emphasized the need for Bazoum’s release and his departure to a third country as a precondition for discussions on lifting the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.
The regional body has been steadfast in its demand for Bazoum’s immediate return to the presidency, but the military junta, which took control in July, has thus far detained him, asserting that a transition to civilian rule may require up to three years.
“We are asking them to release President Bazoum so that he will be allowed to leave Niger,” stated Minister Tuggar in an interview with local Channels TV news. “He will no longer be in custody. He will go to a third country that is mutually agreed upon. And then we start talking about the removal of sanctions.”
Despite the current impasse, Tuggar expressed ECOWAS’s openness to dialogue with Niger’s junta. “The opportunity is there. We are always ready, willing, and able to listen to them, and the ball is in their court.”
The regional situation remains precarious, with military coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Niger since 2020, challenging the democratic foundations of the ECOWAS member states.
Additionally, a failed coup attempt in Sierra Leone last month resulted in 21 casualties, underscoring the broader concerns about political instability within the ECOWAS region.
Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo also raised alarms over recent violence in his country, labelling it an “attempted coup.” These events add urgency to the ECOWAS leaders’ meeting scheduled for December 10 in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
The forthcoming summit is expected to address the evolving political landscape in West Africa and explore collaborative strategies to restore stability and democratic governance.
As the region grapples with a series of challenges, ECOWAS leaders will play a pivotal role in shaping the collective response to safeguard the principles of democracy and uphold the rule of law.
In the midst of these developments, Nigeria’s diplomatic overtures underscore the importance of dialogue and negotiation in resolving the complex political crises that have emerged across West Africa.
The international community will closely watch the outcomes of the upcoming summit as stakeholders seek a path towards lasting stability and democratic governance in the region.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members