Sunday, April 14, 2024

Niger coup leaders form new government

  • UN, AU, ECOWAS top diplomats meet in Abuja today

The military leaders in Niger who seized power in a coup last month have formed a new government.

This was made known in a decree read out on the national television on Thursday.

Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine will lead the 21-member government, with generals from the new military governing council heading the defence and interior ministries.

Lamine Zeine was formerly the minister of economy and finance for several years in the cabinet of then-president Mamadou Tandja, who was ousted in 2010, and most recently worked as an economist for the African Development Bank in Chad, according to a Nigerien media report.

At the end of July, the military ousted the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum and suspended the constitution in the country of 26 million inhabitants.

Under Bazoum, Niger had been one of the last strategic partners of the West in the fight against the advance of Islamist terrorists in the Sahel.

An ultimatum from the Economic Community of West African States to the coup plotters to reinstate Bazoum expired over the weekend.

Otherwise, ECOWAS would take measures that could include force, the ultimatum said.

Top diplomats from the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States are meeting in Abuja today to take major decisions at an Extraordinary Summit on the political development in the Niger Republic.

The summit, which is expected to plot the ouster of the junta, is been hosted by the Chairman of the ECOWAS of Heads of States and Government, President Bola Tinubu.

This came as the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs warned the Federal Government and ECOWAS against carrying out a military action in Niger.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Prof. Salisu Shehu in a statement on Wednesday, warned that sanctions, like the ones imposed by ECOWAS, would be counter-productive and would have “socio-economic negative implications for both Nigerians and Nigeriens especially as we share common history and borders.”

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