Former Military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), led a delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Niger in a last-ditch diplomatic effort to reach a peaceful solution with Niger junta.
The delegation met with Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine who received them at the airport and led them to the presidential palace.
They met with General Abdourahamane Tchiani, head of the junta, and his team for about 90 minutes and later President Mohamed Bazoum.
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A previous effort by ECOWAS delegation also led by Abdulsalami failed.
Tchiani later apologised when some Nigerian clerics met with him last Tweekend, saying he did not meet the delegation out of anger.
ECOWAS had activated its standby force and said all options were on the table Niger junta ignored the ultimatum to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum.
At the end of a two-day meeting of ECOWAS Defence Chiefs in Accra, Ghana capital, Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said the regional bloc’s troops were waiting for order to strike.
“We are ready to go any time the order is given. The D-day is also decided. We’ve already agreed and fine-tuned what will be required for the intervention. As we speak, we are still readying [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door,” Musah said.
After Musah’s press conference, Burkina Faso and Mali, which had earlier warned against any military intervention in Niger, deployed war planes in the troubled nation.
In a joint statement issued weeks back, the governments of Burkina Faso and Mali said, “The disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger could destabilise the entire region.”