Photo: ECOWAS leaders
Niger Coup: ECOWAS gives military leaders 7-day ultimatum to restore ousted President
The Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the military in Niger Republic to restore ousted President Muhammed Bazoum to office.
The decision of the extraordinary session of the Authority presided over by its Chairman, President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Sunday followed its deliberations on developments in the country where President Mohamed Bazoum has been held by members of his presidential guards for days.
The Commander of the country’s Presidential Guards, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had on Friday, declared himself the Head of a Transitional Government.
At Sunday’s meeting, the Authority affirmed its recognition of Bazoum as the legitimate President of the country and as well announced the imposition of land border closures and suspension of all commercial flights between Niger Republic and ECOWAS member states.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, announced the decision, saying that all Chiefs of Defense Staff of the member states will proceed for an emergency meeting to strategize on effective ways to implement a possible military operation to restore Bazoum to office.
He added that ECOWAS will “Take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Nigeria.
“Such measures may include the use of force.
“To this effect, the Chiefs of Defense staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.”
On economic sanctions against Nigeria’s northern neighbour, Touray said that ECOWAS has approved the following measures:
“Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Asia.
“Freezing of 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.”
Among leaders who attended the meeting are President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau, Alassane Ouattara of Cote D’Ivoire and Faure Gnassingbe of Togo.
Others are President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Patrice Talon of Benin, and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
The Transitional President of Chad, Mahamat Deby, showed up and departed before the opening of the meeting.
Cape Verde and Liberia were represented by their Foreign Affairs Ministers.