ECOWAS leaders meet at Aso Rock Villa over Niger crisis

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Members of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government are meeting at the State House, Abuja, for an extraordinary session to discuss the happenings in the Niger Republic.

Sunday’s meeting which began at 12:58 pm is at the behest of Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority.

It comes four days after a military coup ousted the administration of Nigerien President, Muhammed Bazoum.

On Friday, members of Niger’s Presidential Guard who perpetrated the coup named General Abdourahamane Tchiani as the nation’s new leader.

In his address, Tchiani, who has headed the Presidential Guard since 2011, said he was the new “president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.”

He said Wednesday’s coup is the military’s response to “the degradation of the security situation” linked to jihadist bloodshed.

The military also issued a warning about “the consequences that will flow from any foreign military intervention,” saying, “Certain dignitaries…are in thinking of confrontation,” which “will end in nothing but the massacre of the Nigerien population and chaos.”

Tinubu had on Wednesday condemned the coup promising that ECOWAS and the international community would do everything to defend democracy and ensure democratic governance continues to take firm root in the sub-region.

He affirmed that the regional bloc would deploy “all means necessary” to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.

The African Union has also given the Tchiani 15 days to restore Bazoum to power.

Seated at the State House Conference Centre, the leaders will, among other things, discuss possible sanctions on Niger.

Present are Presidents Umaro Embaló (Guinea Bissau), Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Nana Akubo-Addo (Ghana), Patrice Talon (Benin Republic), Alassane Ouattara (Cote d’Ivoire), Adama Barrow (The Gambia) and Macky Sall (Senegal).

Foreign Ministers Luís Tavares of Cabo Verde and Dee-Maxwell Kemayah Sr. of Liberia and Nigerien representatives are also attending.

The President of the Chadian Transitional Military Council, Mahamat Déby, appeared earlier but left before the meeting commenced.