Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) convened in a virtual meeting on Sunday to address the ongoing political crisis in Niger. This meeting took place as the deadline set by ECOWAS for the Niger junta to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to power expired.
The ECOWAS leaders are scheduled to hold another meeting in Abuja this week to make a crucial decision following the virtual summit. A source familiar with the discussions revealed that a communique would be issued afterward, outlining the bloc’s stance on the matter.
The political turmoil in Niger stems from a military coup that ousted the democratically elected President. In response, the ECOWAS states issued a stern ultimatum, giving the junta seven days to relinquish power or face severe consequences. Despite ECOWAS’s warnings of potential military intervention, the junta remained defiant and has yet to step down.
In light of the escalating situation, Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu held a meeting with governors from Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, Katsina, and Jigawa states, which share boundaries with Niger Republic. Although specific details were not disclosed, the meeting is believed to be part of a broader effort to address the political instability in the neighboring country.
President Tinubu, who also serves as the Chairman of ECOWAS, sought support from the Nigerian Senate for a potential military intervention to enforce compliance with the junta in Niger. However, the Senate rejected the request on Saturday, urging ECOWAS to explore diplomatic solutions instead of resorting to armed conflict.