The head of the ECOWAS envoy on the Niger Republic crisis, who is also a former Nigerian president, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, said discussions with the military junta on how to resolve the political crisis in the country were fruitful.
Abdulsalami disclosed this after submitting a report on their visit to Niamey to President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
AbdulSalami, who was accompanied by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, explained that the regional body would continue to explore all options.
The Retired General noted that the ECOWAS delegation met with the military junta in Niamey on Saturday and discussed amicably resolving the political impasse.
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.
‘’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,’’ he said.
Abubakar remarked that the ECOWAS envoys also handed the junta’s three-year transitional plan to Tinubu, who will present it to the region’s Heads of State and Government.
He 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.”
He insisted that the leaders still want to explore diplomatic options before deploying the use of force.
“Hopefully, diplomacy will see the better of this. Nobody wants to go to war. It doesn’t pay anybody, but then, 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.’’
The coup in Niger was triggered by internal politics but attracted international attention.
ECOWAS, the United Nations and Western countries have pressured the junta to hand over to civilians, while Mali and Burkina Faso have vowed to defend it should ECOWAS goes ahead with its plan to intervene by force.