Visiting United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, on Wednesday, said his country backed the wide range of sanctions announced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against the military junta that ousted
President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic last week.
Last Wednesday, some soldiers from the Presidential Guard illegally seized power, detaining the democratically elected President Bazoum.
President Bola Tinubu condemned the political situation in the neighboring country and promised that ECOWAS and the international community would do everything to defend democracy and ensure that democratic governance continues to take firm root in the sub-region.
ECOWAS had during an extraordinary session in the Presidential Villa, Abuja last Sunday, directed the reinstatement of Bazoum by the junta, and vowed to mete out a wide range of stiff sanctions if the coupists failed to comply with the directive.
Addressing state House Correspondents, moments after he met with President Bola Tinubu in the Presidential Villa, the UK Foreign Secretary said his government welcomes the regional bloc’s actions to restore democratic tenets in the West African region.
During the closed-door meeting with President Tinubu as Chairman of ECOWAS, Cleverly said, “We touched briefly on the situation in Niger.
“I made the point that the UK very much welcomes ECOWAS and his indeed decisive action, his strong commitment to democracy and the unambiguous message, that violence is not the means to bring political change in any circumstance, and that the commitment to democracy in Nigeria and the region is unwavering.
“This very much supports the UK’s position. We wish to see peace and democracy restored in Niger. And we will, of course, continue to liaise with our strong friends in the region and membership of ECOWAS, including Nigeria, as we seek to bring about stability, peace, and democracy to Niger.
“We wish to see peace and democracy restored in Niger. And we will, of course, continue to liaise with our strong friends in the region, membership of ECOWAS, of course, including Nigeria,” he said.
The UK Foreign Secretary reiterated his country’s commitment to working more closely with Nigeria on important issues including defense and security of trade and investment.
“And we are committed to ensuring the UK and Nigeria meet regularly and formally at the ministerial level and senior official level to ensure that the good strong foundation stone upon which the bilateral relationship is built is enhanced even further,” he said.
He commended Nigeria for being a long-standing strong partner to the UK, adding “and I look forward to shepherding this relationship to even greater heights in the future.”
Cleverly, who is on a four-day African visit and scheduled to spend two days in Nigeria, is on a three-country visit where he is prioritizing future-focussed, mutually-beneficial partnership.