Niger coup leader apologizes for snubbing Tinubu’s delegation, agrees to dialogue with ECOWAS

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The leader of the Niger military junta, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, has agreed to diplomatic dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after meeting with the Intervention Team of Nigerian Islamic leaders.

The Islamic scholars were led by Bala Lau, national chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, and met with Tchiani for several hours in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The Niger Republic’s Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, said General Tchiani gave the green light for talks with ECOWAS and was optimistic the talks with ECOWAS would take place in the next few days.

According to a statement signed by Lau on Sunday, the coup leader and Islamic scholars deliberated on several issues including the demand by ECOWAS leaders that former President Bazoum be reinstated.

The Prime Minister said, ‘’We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted.’’

Lau said the clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Bola Tinubu who accepted their request to intervene, adding that the visit was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage junta leader and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis.

He was reported Tchiani for several hours in Niger’s capital Niamey during which they also deliberated on all the issues including the demand by ECOWAS leaders that former President Bazoum be reinstated.

Responding, Tchiani said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.

He, however, said it was painful to the coup leaders that the ECOWAS leaders did not hear their side of the matter before issuing an ultimatum to them to quit office.

He claimed the coup was well intended, stating that they struck to starve off an imminent threat that would have affected not only the Niger Republic but also Nigeria.

He also apologized for not according to the team sent by President Tinubu led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) the required attention because they were angry about the ECOWAS ultimatum.

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