By; IBRAHIM ADAMU, Kaduna
Heads of states and government of West Africa Subregion rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja issuing a seven-day ultimatum to military junta of Niger to reinstate Muhammad Bazoum as legitimate president or face a decisive acting, including a military intervention.
In a communique issued at the end of an Extraordinary Summit on Socio-Political Situation in the Republic of Niger read by the President, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, the leaders rejected any form of purported resignation by President Bazoum, declaring the embattled leader as duly elected President.
The leaders expressed strong condemnation of the attempted overthrow of constitutional order in Niger, and the illegal detention of President Bazoum, as well as members of his family and government.
The West African heads demanded full restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger and considered the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum as a hostage situation, holding the authors of the attempted coup d’état solely and fully responsible for his safety and security and that of his family and government.
“In the event, ECOWAS’ demands are not met within one week, necessary measures to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger shall be taken.
“Such measures may include the use of force for this effect, the Chiefs of Defence staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.
“We condemn the pronouncement of support by foreign governments and foreign private military contractors, while expressing appreciation to various governments and partners for their stance and solidarity,” the communique added.
The Summit hosted by President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, also agreed to appoint and dispatch a Special Representative to deliver the demands of the authority.
sanctions were imposed, including the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger, establishing a no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger, and suspending all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger.
ECOWAS leaders in addition announced freezing of assets of the Francophone nation in ECOWAS Central Bank.
Niger would also be suspended from all financial assistance and transactions with financial institutions within ECOWAS, according to the leaders.
Additionally, travel bans and assets freezes were imposed on the military officials involved in the coup attempt, as well as their family members and civilians who participated in any institution or government established by these military officials.
In his remarks, President Tinubu, while vowing to reinstate law and order and democracy in neighboring Niger, appreciated fellow leaders, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, the Special Representative of the Secretary -General and Head of the United Nations Office in West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Santos Simaõ, for their active engagement and invaluable contributions to the discussions.