The military junta in Niger, led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, is considering the recall of Nigerien ambassadors to Nigeria, Togo, the United States, and France, as it cannot reach an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation regarding the restoration of democracy in Niger.
The junta is also planning to evict French and US troops from the country and end all Memorandum of Understanding agreements with France.
The information was confirmed by defence sources present at the ongoing meeting in Niamey, Niger’s capital which spoke with Punch.
“The ongoing negotiation has failed. The junta has declared that it’ll recall Niger’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Togo, France, and the US,” said a defence source.
Another source said, “The junta has just announced that it’ll evict French and US troops in the Niger Republic, noting that all MoU agreements between France and Niger have ended.”
The junta has also announced plans to evict French and US troops and end all agreements with France.
To address the political crisis in Niger, the ECOWAS dispatched two missions on Thursday.
The first delegation, led by former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), met with the coupists and other parties in Niger. Another delegation led by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe engaged with the leaders of Libya and Algeria.
President Bola Tinubu, Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, sent both teams on the mission.
Tinubu urged the delegations to engage robustly with all stakeholders to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution in Niger.
The President said, “We don’t want to hold brief for anybody. Our concern is democracy and the peace of the region.”
Speaking after the meeting, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) said the delegation would meet the coup leaders in Niger to present the demands of the ECOWAS leadership.
Both leaders of the two missions expressed optimism about the outcome of the assignments.
Speaking to journalists before departing the Villa for Niamey, Abubakar said, “We have just been given our marching orders to go to Niger and convey the feelings of our heads of state in the region that they are not happy with what happened. And they gave them an ultimatum that the coupists should desist from what they are doing and give back power to an elected President and again, to make sure that this message is sent loud and clear to them.
“That’s what we are here for. So far, we are going there to convey this message to them and hear their response and report back what they have said.”
Kingibe said talking with Libya and Algeria, two countries bordering Niger to the North, will stimulate the solidarity required for peaceful talks.
He said, “Of course, this kind of situation requires solidarity. It requires coordination with all parties that are relevant to the situation.
“In that regard, Libya and Algeria are also very important neighbours of Niger. So, my mission is to go there with a message from President Tinubu. To brief them on the ECOWAS position and solicit solidarity and cooperation.
“We hope to find a diplomatic solution. Nobody wants to go to war, especially with neighbourly, brotherly people across the border with whom we share a common language, culture and religion.”