- laments failure of dialogue
Leaders of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) met in Abuja Thursday and resolved to deploy a standby military force to dislodge the military junta that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger Republic.
Having met under the auspices of Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, chaired by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, the leaders decried the recalcitrance of the coupists who have so far rejected directives to reinstate Bazoum, as well as offers of dialogue.
Speaking after the session, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire said: “The Community (ECOWAS) has always condemned coup d’etats. ECOWAS has always intervened in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia.
“ECOWAS will not accept this. This is not a decision of Nigeria against Niger. We have tried dialogue, sent delegation of high personalities, yet the military government is keeping President Mohamed Bazoum hostage.
“We have to act. We have to tell the coupists that their place is in the barracks, they should go and fight terrorists.
“We will not accept coup d’etat, the coupists must go. If they do not allow Bazoum to exercise his mandate, we will go ahead and push them out. This is a position the Heads of State have adopted. The coup d’etat is not acceptable and ECOWAS will put an end to it.”
The President of ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, who read out to the press the communiqué of the leaders at the end of the meeting, said defence chiefs of the member countries have been ordered to effect deployment of troops as soon as possible and that financing for the military action has been discussed and taken care of.
According to Touray, “the Heads of State have taken decision and directed the mobilization of the African Standby Force, they have also directed the security authorities in the sub-region to deploy the stand force of the community.
“As for financing, that has been discussed and appropriate measures are being taken. As political leaders, they have directed the military leaders in the sub-region to mobilize and deploy.”
The communiqué reads: “The Authority having considered the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger, as well as ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary summit; and having considered the reports of the envoys of the chair, to Niger and various other places;
“Carefully considered the report and recommendations of the ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defense staff; extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extra ordinary Summit held on 30th July 2023.
“Noted that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS, in resolving the crisis have been defiantly repelled by the military leadership of the Republic of Niger;
taking note of the expiration of the one week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger decide as follows:
A. Reiterates its strong condemnation of the attempted coup d’etat and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoam, his family and members of his government
B. Further condemns the condition in which President Bazoum is being detained and hold the CNSP fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of President Bazoum, members of his family and government.
C. Uphold all measures and principles agreed upon by the extra ordinary Summit held on Niger on 30th July 2023.
D. Underscore the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
E. Enforce all measures in particular border closures and strict travel bans and assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions hinder all peaceful efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order.
F. Warn member states who by their action directly or indirectly, hindered the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Niger about the consequences for their action before the community.
G. Call on the African Union to endorse all the decisions taken by the ECOWAS authority on the situation in Niger.
H. Further call on all partner countries and institutions including the United Nations to support ECOWAS, in its effort to ensure a quick restoration of constitutional order, in conformity with its normative instruments.
I. Direct the President of the Commission to monitor the implementation of the sanctions.
J. Direct the Committee of the chief of defense staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.
K. Order the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
L. Underscore its continued commitment for the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.