- Niger’s military leaders, including General Tchiani, expressed frustration over ECOWAS leaders’ ultimatum and welcomed Nigeria’s Islamic scholars’ intervention for peaceful dialogue
- General Tchiani regretted ignoring the delegation led by General Abdulsalam Abubakar due to anger over ECOWAS’ approach to the crisis
The military leaders of Niger, led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, have revealed why they ignored the delegation led by Nigeria’s former military Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd), in their efforts to restore the deposed government.
President Bola Tinubu dispatched a high-powered team led by Abubakar and the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, to end the crisis in Niger through dialogue.
The delegation, however, returned to Nigeria without attracting the junta’s attention.
However, as ECOWAS continues to seek long-term solutions to the crisis, Nigeria’s intervention team, comprised of prominent Islamic scholars, visited the coup leaders over the weekend, emphasising dialogue to resolve the political crisis.
At the meeting, the junta told the Islamic Ulammas led by Sheikh Bala Lau that the coup leaders were enraged when Abubakar’s delegation arrived.
This was revealed in a statement signed on Sunday by Lau on behalf of the Intervention Team.
General Tchiani welcomed the clerics warmly and said it was painful for the coup leaders that ECOWAS leaders did not listen to their side of the story before issuing an ultimatum to leave office.
Tchiani said during the several-hour meeting in Niger’s capital, Niamey, that he would allow both parties to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.
He claimed the coup was well-intentioned and carried out to avert an imminent threat that would have affected the Niger Republic and Nigeria.
He also apologised for not paying attention to the team sent by President Tinubu because they were upset about the ECOWAS ultimatum.
The clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Tinubu, who accepted their request to intervene, according to Lau, the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting in Niamey, another member of the intervention team and Chief Missioner of the Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheikh Ahmad Abdulrahman, said that, contrary to reports in some sections of the media, the team was well received by General Tchiani and both parties had fruitful discussions.
We will now go back home and report to President Tinubu what we have discussed and press it on him that war is not an option in resolving the matter.
We believe that war is an ill wind that will not blow any good and that peaceful resolution should prevail, Abdulrahman said.