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ECOWAS Demands End to Military Intervention, Restoration of Bazoom to Presidency

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has delivered a stern ultimatum to General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the alleged orchestrator of the recent coup in Niger Republic, giving him seven days to return power to the legitimately elected President Mohammed Bazoom or face potential military intervention.

The warning came as part of a series of resolutions at an emergency meeting of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Sunday, July 30, 2023.

The leaders ordered immediate sanctions against Niger, including the closure of land and air borders, a no-fly zone for commercial flights, and a freeze on all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger.

Omar Alieu-Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, read the resolutions, emphatically stating the region’s principle of “zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government” and declaring: “His Excellency President Mohammed Bazoom remains the legitimate, elected president and head of state of the Republic of Niger, recognized by ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community.”

The summit saw the participation of numerous heads of state and representatives from the region, including President Patrice Talon of Benin, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo of Ghana, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, and others.

ECOWAS also strongly condemned the attempted overthrow and the illegal detention of President Bazoum and his family, insisting that those responsible would be held fully accountable for their safety.

The resolutions further stated: “In the event, the authorities’ demands are not met within one week. Take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger. Such measures may include the use of force. For this effect, the chiefs of defense staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.”

In addition to military measures, ECOWAS has also imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the military officials involved in the coup attempt and their family members and civilians accepting transactions from institutions or governments established by these army officials.

Expressing appreciation for the leadership of Nigeria’s President Tinubu as the chair of the ECOWAS authority, the leaders have signaled a unified stance against unconstitutional seizures of power, reaffirming their commitment to democratic governance in the region.

The emergency summit and subsequent resolutions mark a decisive response to the political crisis in Niger, highlighting the urgency and seriousness with which the West African community views the situation.

The coming days will reveal if General Tchiani heeds the warnings of ECOWAS or if the region will be drawn into a more forceful intervention to restore President Bazoom to power.

Either way, the actions of ECOWAS send a strong message to potential coup plotters across the continent, reaffirming the region’s commitment to democratic governance and rule of law.

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