By Timothy Choji, VON
The Authority of heads of state and Government of ECOWAS have directed the Committee of the Chiefs of Defense Staff of the Community to immediately activate and deploy the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger.
The regional leaders also restated their continuous commitment to the restoration of constitutional order in Niger Republic through peaceful means.
These were part of resolutions reached at the end of the 2nd extraordinary ECOWAS summit on the socio-political situation in Republic of Niger.
Presenting the communique of the summit, ECOWAS Commission President, Dr Omar Touray said decisions were taken after a careful consideration of the memorandum presented by the ECOWAS commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger.
He regretted that all diplomatic means deployed by ECOWAS have failed despite the one-week ultimatum given to the military junta in Niger.
He said: “The Authority having considered the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger, as well as ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary summit; and having considered the reports of the envoys of the chair to Niger and various other places; carefully considered the report and recommendations of the ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defense staff; extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extra ordinary Summit held on 30th July 2023.
“The Authority noted that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS, in resolving the crisis have been defiantly repelled by the military leadership of the Republic of Niger; taking note of the expiration of the one-week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger decide as follows:
“Direct the Committee of the Chiefs of Defense Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.
“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger. Underscore its continued commitment for the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”
ECOWAS also condemned the way the coup plotters are treating President Mohammed Bazoum.
He said all measures earlier taken against the coup plotters would be sustained to achieve the aim of restoring constitutional power in Niger.
“The Authority reiterates its strong condemnation of the attempted coup d’état and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoam, his family and members of his government.
“Further condemns the condition in which President Bazoum is being detained and hold the CNSP fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of President Bazoum, members of his family and government.
“Uphold all measures and principles agreed upon by the extra ordinary Summit held on Niger on 30th July 2023. Underscore the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“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 aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order,” he said.
ECOWAS also warned any of its members fantasizing with the coupists to desist or be dealt with.
“The Authority of Heads of State warns member states who by their action directly or indirectly, hindered the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Niger about the consequences for their action before the community,” he said.
The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government also called on larger organizations like the Africa Union and the United Nations to support ECOWAS in its quest to restore democracy in Niger Republic.
“We call on the African Union to endorse all the decisions taken by the ECOWAS authority on the situation in Niger. We further call on all partner countries and institutions including the United Nations to support ECOWAS, in its effort to ensure a quick restoration of constitutional order, in conformity with its normative instruments,” the ECOWAS Commission’s President said.