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November 4, 2023

Niger Coup: ECOWAS using back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed – Tinubu

I’ll justify the trust Nigerians place on me – Tinubu

File: President Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu said the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is using back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in Niger.

The president disclosed this when he received the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. 

According to him, the regional bloc, while trying to avoid bloodshed in the West African nation, would also explore diplomatic interventions.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, noted that President Tinubu said he has to guide the regional bloc carefully to protect detained President Mohamed Bazoum who was ousted from power on July 26.

Tinubu noted that Nigeria is monitoring the situation in the neighbouring country, and exploring diplomatic channels to avoid bloodshed.

The statement partly reads, “I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in the Niger Republic. We recognize the wishes of our people; they do not want war, but that does not mean we can not take bold and decisive action,” Tinubu was quoted as saying.

“We have a colleague and a democratically-elected leader, President Bazoum, being used as a human shield. If we are not careful, he and his family can be endangered.

“Leadership is about responding to the needs of the people; their cries, and their frustrations. Nigeria shares a border with Niger across the expanse of seven Nigerian states, and most of these states are very populated. Therefore, I need to guide ECOWAS carefully and steadily so that we manage our anger carefully.”

In her remarks, the French minister commended President Tinubu’s leadership in handling the affairs of the regional bloc, saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We are behind you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality”.

Colonna also conveyed the goodwill of President Emmanuel Macron and expressed the readiness of France to expand mutually beneficial collaboration with Nigeria across multiple sectors.

She proceeded to extend a formal invitation to President Bola Tinubu to attend the forthcoming Paris Peace Forum.