ECOWAS Rejects Niger’s Military Rulers’ Three-Year Transition Plan

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has taken a firm stance against the three-year power transition plan proposed by the military rulers of Niger Republic. The rejection was made known by Abdel-Fatau Musa, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, during an interview with the BBC.

Musa emphasized that the proposal put forth by General Tchiani, the leader of the military junta, was merely a smokescreen for dialogue and diplomacy. He cautioned that the regional bloc would not tolerate any prolonged transitions in the region.

The ECOWAS Commissioner urged Niger’s military rulers to be prepared to hand over power in the shortest time possible. He stressed that the focus should be on returning authority to civilian hands and concentrating on the military’s primary responsibility of defending the nation’s territorial integrity.

The rejection follows General Abdourahamane Tchiani’s televised announcement that the military would transfer power to a civilian government over the next three years. Despite this plan, the military junta leader affirmed that his country was not seeking war, though they would be ready to defend themselves if necessary.

Niger’s importance in stabilizing the region amidst increased terrorist activity has led to ongoing discussions and diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS. Notably, former Nigerian Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), recently led an ECOWAS delegation to engage in diplomatic negotiations with the Niger junta.

In light of the potential ramifications of any conflict, various voices, including former House of Representatives member Robinson Uwak, have called for diplomatic solutions. Uwak urged President Bola Tinubu and ECOWAS member states to prioritize dialogue and avoid military action, citing the potential toll on regional peace and stability.

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Pro-coup demonstrations in support of the military junta took to the streets of Niger’s capital, Niamey, denouncing foreign intervention. Pope Francis also weighed in, urging a diplomatic solution to the political crisis and emphasizing the need for peace and stability in the Sahel region.

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