As leaders from the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) gathered in Abuja to deliberate on the military junta in Niger Republic, a significant development emerged as former Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi held talks with the coup leaders in the capital, Niamey. Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano and a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, met with the junta leaders in an attempt to mediate and open doors for negotiation. This meeting coincided with the launch of an anti-coup movement by Niger’s former rebel leader, Rhissa Ag Boula, signaling the first signs of internal resistance against the new military rule.
In a related development, the French government rejected accusations by Niger’s new military rulers of freeing “terrorists” and violating the country’s airspace. The tensions between the military junta and international actors, including ECOWAS and France, further complicate the situation in Niger. Amid these challenges, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) cautioned against adopting military means to force the removal of the illegal government in Niger Republic. Instead, they urged for peaceful, diplomatic efforts to restore democracy.
Furthermore, the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) advised against imposing sanctions on Niger and called for dialogue as a more effective way to address the crisis. The NSCIA’s stance aligns with that of other international organizations and stakeholders advocating for a peaceful resolution.
The Reunion of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA) also weighed in, urging ECOWAS to refrain from military intervention in Niger. Drawing lessons from previous interventions, the Catholic Bishops emphasized the importance of prioritizing dialogue and reconciliation over force, highlighting the potential dire consequences of military action in the region.
As ECOWAS leaders deliberate on the best course of action to address the situation in Niger, international attention remains focused on diplomatic efforts, mediation, and peaceful solutions to restore stability and democracy in the country.