The regional ECOWAS bloc has kicked against the plan of the Abdourahmane Tchiani-led junta to hand over power to a civilian government after three years.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musa, disclosed this on Sunday during an interview with the BBC.
The leader of the Niger junta, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had earlier announced in a televised broadcast on Saturday night that the army will only hand over power to the civilian government after three years.
The ECOWAS Commissioner, while responding to the plan, stressed that the regional bloc is not accepting any prolonged transition again in the region and called on the junta to hand over in the shortest possible time.
He said: “The earlier they give power back to civilians and concentrate on their primary responsibility that is defending the territorial integrity of Niger, the better for them.”
He stressed again that the “military aspect is very much on”.
The ECOWAS has reiterated its will to end the impasse peacefully but re-emphasised that no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.
Abdourahmane Tchiani said that Niger did not want a war but would defend itself against any foreign intervention.
He also condemned what he described as the “illegal and inhumane” sanctions imposed by ECOWAS on Niger.
“Sanctions are not conceived with the aim of finding a solution but to bring us to our knees and humiliate us,” Gen Tchiani said.
Last Monday, the West African bloc activated its standby force to evict the coup plotters from the presidential palace and return Mohamed Bazoum, who has been detained since his overthrow on July 26.
The ECOWAS military chiefs in a summit in Ghana also said they had agreed on a day to move against the coup plotters.