Chiefs of Defence Staff from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Friday met in Abuja over the military coup in Niger Republic.
The defence chiefs called on the Niger’s coup leaders to immediately release deposed President Muhamed Bazoum and return the country to democratic governance.
They noted that such move is the only way to ensure peace in the country.
According to them, interventions in the Niger Republic must encompass political, security and diplomatic dimensions.
The meeting of the defence chiefs came few hours to the end of seven-day ultimatum issued to Niger’s military to restore Bazoum presidency or risk being forced out.
Speaking on the development, Christopher Musa, president of the ECOWAS defence chiefs, commended the bloc for standing firm for democracy, adding that the militaries of the member countries were firmly in support of their stand.
Musa, who is Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, said the committee collectively recognised the gravity of the situation in Niger and the urgent need for a well-coordinated response.
“We have also deliberated on the broader implication for democracy, peace and stability in West Africa and are pleased to note that our discussions have yielded valuable insights and actionable recommendations,” Musa said.
“We have acknowledged the need for a comprehensive approach that encompasses political, security and diplomatic dimensions.
“It is imperative that we translate our deliberations into concrete actions that effectively address the crisis and prevent a recurrence in the future.
“Democracy is what we stand for and democracy is what we will sustain.”
Musa said the coup in Niger represented blatant disregard for the fundamental principles that underpin regional integration and stability, and condemned the actions of his Nigerien counterparts.
According to the general, the defence chiefs had carefully analysed the situation and drawn up recommendations that could drive progress.
“We must intensify our diplomatic efforts to engage with all relevant stakeholders,” Musa said.
“Dialogue and negotiations should be at the forefront of our approach to resolving the crisis in the Republic of Niger.
“We must engage the traditional authorities, civil society organisations and all the key actors to foster an inclusive and peaceful transition process.
“The defence chiefs urged member states to hasten the implementation of the recommendations and translate them into tangible actions for quick solutions to the situation in Niger.
DAILY GIST earlier reported that ECOWAS chairman, President Bola Tinubu, had on Thursday asked Nigeria’s Senate for approval to deploy troops to Niger in order to oust the coup leaders from power.
President Bola Tinubu had sent a high-powered delegation to the country to meet with the coup leaders, on Thursday for a peace talk
The delegation consisted of former military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar.
However, efforts to resolve the ongoing impasse failed.
Subsequently, Niger severed ties with Nigeria, Togo, France, its coloniser, and the United States.