The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Envoy to Niger Republic, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has formally presented the terms given by the military junta to the sub-region for the settlement of the political crisis in the country.
This is as Gen. Abubakar has given the assurances that the crisis is not likely to deteriorate beyond diplomacy.
Abubakar, who is a former Nigerian Military Head of State, spoke to journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after a meeting convened by President Bola Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS.
In attendance at the meeting were the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, to the President, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
General Abubakar, who had over the last weekend held a meeting with the ousted President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, and the leaders of the junta in the country, said he had delivered the terms of the Abdouramane Tchiani-led junta to ECOWAS.
He said that there have been exchange of correspondences between the West African regional bloc and the military junta in Niger, noting that the line of contact opened by ECOWAS through his appointment as envoy had been very fruitful.
He expressed hope that something concrete will soon come out of it.
He said, “As you are aware, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have made me an envoy to Niger Republic and we were there over the weekend to see the military people and discussed to find a way out of the lacuna we find ourselves.
“So that’s why I’m here this afternoon, together with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, to give a report back to Mr. President on our discussions in Niger. I must say that our visit to Niger has been very fruitful and that it has opened an avenue to start talking and hopefully we’ll get somewhere. “
On the divergence in opinions of both the regional bloc and the junta about quick return to democratic rule, Abubakar said “well, like I said, we’ve started talking, they have made their own points and then I made my report to the Chairman of the ECOWAS Heads of state and President. He will now consult with his colleagues and then the ding-dong starts and we’ll get somewhere hopefully”.
Asked if there was any possibility of avoiding a military action, he said “hopefully diplomacy will see the better of this. Nobody wants to go to war, it doesn’t pay anybody, but then again, our leaders have said if all fails and I don’t think all will fail, we’ll get somewhere we’ll get out of this mess”.