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Niger’s military junta agrees to dialogue with ECOWAS

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Niger Republic’s military junta has agreed to dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to resolve the political crisis in the country, according to Nigeria’s Intervention Team, comprised of scholars from various Islamic sects in the country.

The team, led by Sheikh Bala Lau, met at the weekend with the coup leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, during which they deliberated on all the issues, including the ECOWAS’ demand to reinstate former President Bazoum.

In a statement on Sunday, Bala Lau said the team was in Niger on behalf of President Bola Tinubu, who approved their request to intervene.

He, therefore, told Tchiani that the visit to Niger was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis.

In his response, Tchiani, who accorded the team’s warm reception, welcomed their intervention.

He said: “Our doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter. It was painful that ECOWAS leaders did not hear our side of the matter before issuing an ultimatum to quit office”.

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

Tchiani also apologised for not according 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.

Both parties agreed to intensify the option of dialogue in resolving the political crisis in that country, according to the Nigerian delegation.

Bala Lau, who is the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, said the clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Tinubu who accepted their request to intervene.

He said the team had earlier told the President Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of Government of ECOWAS, that their position is that the political impasse in Niger be resolved through dialogue.

He said he told Tchiani that the visit was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis.

Another member of the intervention team, who is Chief Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheik Ahmad Abdulrahman, said that the team was well received by 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”, he said.

The team comprised scholars from various Islamic sects in the country. Among them were Sheik Kabiru Gombe-Secretary, Jamatul izalatul bida waikamatul sunnah, Sheik Yakubu Musa Hassan Katsina-Director Daawah, JIBWIS, Sheik Ibrahim Dahiru Bauchi- Rep Sheik Ibrahim Bauchi and Dr Khalid Aliya- Secretary General, Jammatul Nasril Islam.

Others included Sheik Karibullah Nasiru Kabara- Leader Khadriya group Nigeria, Sheik Ahmad Abdurahman, Professor Salisu Sheri- Deputy Secretary-General Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Sheik Nasiru Abdul Muhayuid- Director Admin, JIBWIS Jos, Prof. Mansur Sokoto, and Alhaji Mele Kyari.

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