By Gift Habib
The Federal Government has urged the international community to remain resolute in their support for the Economic Community of West African States stand to return the country to democratic rule.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa stated this on Friday at a briefing session on the current political situation in Niger Republic and the ECOWAS sub-region, organized by the Ministry for the Diplomatic Corps.
On July 26, 2023, the democratically elected and constitutionally installed President Mohamed Bazoum, was illegally detained by the military coup led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani.
On July 30, 2023, ECOWAS, led by Nigerian President BolaTinubu, decided on sanctions against the military personnel in Niger who toppled President-elect Mohamed Bazoum’last week.
In addition to a one-week ultimatum to restore constitutional order and the suspension of financial transactions with Niger, ECOWAS decreed the freezing of “all service transactions, including energy transactions.”
ECOWAS on Thursday sent a three-man delegation to Niger to resolve the current political impasse in the country.
Speaking at the event, Lamuwa said the ECOWAS authority welcomed the immediate condemnation, by the international community, of the coup in Niger, adding that “it sees this as a huge testimony to the preference for democracy and constitutional rule, vis-avis any other form of governance.
“Consequently, Nigeria and indeed, ECOWAS, calls upon the international community to remain resolute on this stance and to continue to show solidarity to ECOWAS in affirming the superiority of democratic and constitutional rule over dictatorship.”
The Permanent Secretary, however, expressed worries that should the coup take place, it might stain ECOWAS’ reputation.
He explained “No doubt, the developments in Niger, like Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea, have raised serious concerns about regional stability and democratic principles in the region.
“There is concern that the success of the coup in Niger would significantly dampen ECOWAS’s reputation, especially if the country joins the ranks of others that are governed by unconstitutional leaders, such as Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali.”
The Permanent Secretary further noted that the ECOWAS would ensure “the life of Bazoum, his family members and other political leaders detained alongside him are preserved and their constitutional rights protected.”
Lamuwa added that the region holds that Bazoum remains the legitimate President and Head of State of the Republic of Niger, recognized and supported by ECOWAS, the AU, and the International Community, stating that it rejects any form of resignation that may purportedly come from Bazoum, perhaps under duress.