The Economic Community of West African States has said “no option is off the table including the use of force as a last resort” after its 2nd extraordinary meeting in 10 days held in Abuja on Thursday.
President Tinubu said, “We have reaffirmed our commitment to the people of Niger and to the progress of our entire ECOWAS community. We will continue with that, from this extraordinary summit, that no option is off the table including the use of force as a last resort.”
ECOWAS reiterated the condemnation of the coup in Niger as well as the detention of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and his family. They condemned the conditions in which they have been detained, and stated that measures agreed upon by the extraordinary summit on 30th July, 2023 will be upheld.
The president of ECOWAS, Omar Touray, underscored the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
He said ECOWAS will “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 in ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order.”
ECOWAS called on the African Union and other partner institutions, including the United Nations to endorse all resolutions taken by the Commission to ensure quick restoration of constitutional order in Niger.
Importantly, ECOWAS announced the activation and deployment of the ECOWAS standby force.
ECOWAS leaders had held a closed door session of the extraordinary second summit to address the Niger political crisis.
To avoid an escalation of the crisis and an armed intervention, several stakeholders in Nigeria and Niger have been working to persuade both ECOWAS and Niger’s military junta to approach the situation diplomatically and continue with negotiations.
In attendance were the Extraordinary Session include ECOWAS leaders: Presidents
Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco of Guinea Bissau, Everiste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire and President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani of Mauritania.
Others are Presidents Nana Akofo-Ado of Ghana, Macky Sall of Senegal, Patrice Talon of Benin Republic and Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo.
The Gambia and Liberia were member-states represented by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs.