Diplomatic Efforts Intensify as ECOWAS Convenes Over Niger Crisis and Sanusi’s Role
ECOWAS Summit Addresses Niger Crisis Amid Mediation Efforts and Calls for Restraint
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) heads of states are gathering today in Abuja to address the ongoing crisis caused by the military junta in Niger Republic. As tensions escalate, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano, held a crucial meeting with the coup leaders in Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic, in an attempt to mediate the situation.
Sanusi’s meeting with the coup leaders has emerged as a key development in this crisis. This comes in the wake of the emergence of an anti-coup movement led by Niger’s former rebel leader, Rhissa Ag Boula, marking the first sign of internal resistance against the military rule.
The French government, meanwhile, has denied accusations by Niger’s new military rulers of facilitating the release of “terrorists” and violating the country’s airspace. Amidst these developments, various Nigerian organizations and leaders have voiced their concerns and opinions on the matter.
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum Rejects Military Intervention
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), led by Chief Edwin Clark, has strongly opposed any military intervention to remove the illegal government in Niger Republic. The forum has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who also chairs ECOWAS, to employ diplomatic means and concerted efforts to restore democracy in Niger Republic.
The SMBLF emphasizes the potential repercussions of military action, particularly considering the historical and cultural ties shared between Nigeria and Niger. The forum suggests that a peaceful resolution should be sought urgently, ensuring stability and security in both nations.
Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs Advocates for Dialogue
The Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has advised ECOWAS against imposing sanctions on Niger and using military force to address the situation. The council emphasizes that economic sanctions are counterproductive and could escalate tensions further. The NSCIA also proposes dialogue as a more effective approach to resolve the crisis.
West African Catholic Bishops Call for Restraint and Dialogue
The Reunion of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA), representing Catholic Bishops in the region, has urged ECOWAS to refrain from military intervention in Niger. RECOWA warns of the potential catastrophic consequences that military action could have on the people of Niger and the sub-region.
Drawing from past instances, such as the intervention in Libya in 2011, the Bishops emphasize the importance of prioritizing human lives, dignity, and future over any interests. They call on leaders to learn from history and advocate for dialogue and peaceful solutions.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Mediation Efforts
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s personal mediation efforts have garnered attention. As a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Khalifa of the Tijjaniya sect, which holds significant influence in Niger, Sanusi’s involvement holds promise for potential negotiations. Sanusi has communicated with both the junta leader and Nigeria’s President Tinubu, emphasizing that he is acting in a personal capacity to promote dialogue and resolution.
ECOWAS leaders are set to deliberate on the crisis, and all eyes remain on the efforts to restore stability and democracy in Niger Republic.