In what looks like a discordant tune among the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional body on Thursday again backtracked and ordered the activation of the ECOWAS standby force immediately and its deployment to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
Rising from its 2nd extraordinary summit in Abuja, the Heads of Government of member-states said the decision followed the consideration of the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger as well as ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary summit.
They said they also considered the reports of the envoys of the ECOWAS Chairman, President Bola Tinubu to Niger and various other places.
Persecondnews reported earlier that ECOWAS Chairman and Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu had on Thursday said diplomatic negotiations and dialogue would be used and military option in resolving the political crisis in Niger.
Tinubu said this in his welcome speech at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit of Heads of Government of the West African organization on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger.
Tinubu had said:”Moreso, in reaffirming our relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that we “prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue” as the bedrock of our approach.”
But a communique issued at the end of their summit and given to Persecondnews stated that the body: “Direct the Committee of the chief of defense staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.
“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Noted that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS, in resolving the crisis have been defiantly repelled by the military leadership of the Republic of Niger; taking note of the expiration of the one week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger decide as follows:
“Reiterates its strong condemnation of the attempted coup d’etat and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoam, his family and members of his government
“Further condemns the condition in which President Bazoum is being detained and hold the CNSP fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of President Bazoum, members of his family and government.
“Uphold all measures and principles agreed upon by the extra ordinary Summit held on Niger on 30th July 2023.
“Underscore the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“Enforce all measures in particular border closures and strict travel bans and assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions hinder all peaceful efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order.
“Warn member states who by their action directly or indirectly, hindered the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Niger about the consequences for their action before the community.
“Call on the African Union to endorse all the decisions taken by the ECOWAS authority on the situation in Niger.
“Further call on all partner countries and institutions including the United Nations to support ECOWAS, in its effort to ensure a quick restoration of constitutional order, in conformity with its normative instruments.
“Direct the President of the Commission to monitor the implementation of the sanctions.
“Carefully considered the report and recommendations of the ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defense staff; extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extra ordinary Summit held on 30th July 2023.”
ECOWAS, however, restated its continued commitment to the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means in the region.