Niger Republic coup leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani has agreed to dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu after his meeting with Nigerian Islamic Scholars led by the national leader of Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatus Sunnah (JIBWIS), Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau in Niger Republic.
According to Niger Republic’s Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, General Tchiani gave the green light for talks with ECOWAS and was optimistic the talks with ECOWAS would take place in the next few days.
“We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, a report published in Voice of Nigeria (VON) stated how the Nigeria’s Intervention Team, which included notable Islamic scholars from the country, met with the coup leaders in Niger over the weekend, and all parties decided to strengthen the option of dialogue in resolving the country’s political problem.
The Islamic Ulammas led by Sheik Bala Lau was said to have met with General Abdourahmane Tchiani for several hours in Niger’s capital Niamey during which they deliberated on all the issues including the demand by ECOWAS leaders that former President Bazoum be reinstated.
Bala Lau, who is the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, said the clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Bola Tinubu who accepted their request to intervene.
Sheik Lau said the team had earlier told President Tinubu who is also the Chairman of Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government that their position is that the political impasse in Niger is resolved through dialogue.
He, therefore, told General Tchiani that the visit to Niger was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis. Responding, General Tchiani who accorded the team warm reception welcomed their intervention. He said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.
General Tchiani, however, said it was painful to the coup leaders that the ECOWAS leaders did not hear their side of the matter before issuing ultimatum to them to quit office.
He claimed the coup was well intended, stating that they struck to starve off an imminent threat that would have affected not only Niger Republic but also Nigeria.
He also apologised for not according the team sent by President Tinubu led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) the required attention because they were angry about the ECOWAS ultimatum.