On August 7, 2023, President Bola Tinubu, Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, may convene a second meeting with leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the one-week ultimatum issued to the military junta in Niger Republic reached its midnight deadline on Sunday.
A senior official, speaking on Sunday, revealed that the ECOWAS leaders would gather again in Abuja to determine their next course of action. The previous meeting on June 30 in Abuja had produced resolutions, and this forthcoming meeting is expected to make a final decision on how to address the situation in Niger.
As of now, no specific date has been set for the meeting where the ultimate decision will be reached. The spokesman for ECOWAS, Amos Lungu, has not provided any comments on the matter yet.
Last week, ECOWAS issued a seven-day ultimatum to the military junta in Niger, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, demanding the restoration of ousted President Muhammed Bazoum to office.
Following an extraordinary session overseen by President Tinubu in Abuja, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, announced that all Chiefs of Defence Staff from member states would convene for an emergency meeting to strategize on an effective military operation to restore Bazoum to power.
The Defence Chiefs have since finalized an intervention plan and urged their respective militaries to prepare for a potential military intervention in Niger.
In the midst of the escalating situation, President Tinubu held a meeting on Sunday with governors of states that share borders with Niger Republic to discuss the crisis.
Meanwhile, the junta in Niger responded to the ECOWAS ultimatum by closing the country’s airspace until further notice, citing the threat of military intervention by ECOWAS. In a show of support for the military leaders, thousands of their supporters gathered at a stadium in Niger, expressing solidarity with the coup plotters.
Despite the rising tension, the Nigerian Senate advised President Tinubu to explore alternative dialogue options rather than resorting to force in an attempt to restore democracy in Niger, emphasizing the existing cordial relationship between Nigeriens and Nigerians.
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