By Stephen Angbulu
Members of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, on Sunday, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Nigerien military to restore constitutional order and reinstate ousted President Muhammed Bazoum into office.
This followed an extraordinary meeting of leaders of ECOWAS member-states at the State House, Abuja, to discuss the happenings in Niger Republic.
While recognising Bazoum as the legitimate President of the landlocked state, the bloc also imposed land and border closures, suspending all commercial flights between Niger and ECOWAS member states.
Announcing the decision, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, said all Chiefs of Defense Staff of the member states will proceed for an emergency meeting to strategise on effective ways to implement a possible military operation to restore Bazoum to office.
He said the ECOWAS will “Take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Such measures may include the use of force.
“To this effect, the Chiefs of Defense Staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.”
Announcing economic sanctions, Touray said ECOWAS has approved the “Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger. Freeze all service transactions including energy transactions.
“Freeze assets of the Republic of Niger in Aqua Central Bank. Freeze of assets of the Niger State and the state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks.
“Suspension of measure from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions, particularly EBID.”
On Friday, members of Niger’s Presidential Guard who perpetrated the coup named General Abdourahamane Tchiani as the nation’s new leader.
Tchiani, who has headed the Presidential Guard since 2011, said Wednesday’s coup is the military’s response to “the degradation of the security situation” linked to jihadist bloodshed.
The military also issued a warning about “the consequences that will flow from any foreign military intervention,” saying, “Certain dignitaries…are in thinking of confrontation,” which “will end in nothing but the massacre of the Nigerien population and chaos.”