On Friday, the Nigerian government clarified its position on the ongoing crisis in Niger, stating that the use of force, as suggested by ECOWAS, would be considered as a last resort while mediation efforts continue.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Adamu Lamuwa, made this clear during a briefing with members of the diplomatic corps in Abuja, emphasizing that forceful intervention would only be considered if all other peaceful means fail.
“We hope we do not get to a point where force becomes necessary; it is our last option,” Lamuwa stated, underscoring Nigeria’s commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger.
Following the military takeover in Niger, ECOWAS issued a seven-day deadline to General Tchiani, urging him to hand over power to President Bazoum. The regional bloc threatened sanctions and military invasion if the deadline was not adhered to.
However, the military junta in Niger, along with its allies in Mali and Guinea Bissau, has defied ECOWAS’ ultimatum, warning that any attempt to attack would be viewed as a declaration of war.
In an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution, a delegation led by Abdulsalami Abubakar, the former military head of state of Nigeria, arrived in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
The delegation, which also included Muhammadu Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, and Alieu Touray, the president of the ECOWAS commission, engaged in talks with representatives of the junta.
However, hours after their arrival, the Nigerien military announced the termination of its ambassadors’ duties in four countries, including Nigeria, France, the United States, and Togo.
Despite this development, Lamuwa mentioned that he had not been informed about the dismissal of Nigeria’s ambassador to Niger.
Lamuwa also acknowledged Niger’s right to open its borders to supportive regional countries, considering the blockade ordered by ECOWAS following the coup.
As the situation continues to unfold, Nigeria remains committed to pursuing diplomatic efforts to restore stability in Niger, while keeping the option of force as a last resort to protect regional peace and security.