The Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Tinubu, has urged a delegation of Islamic scholars (Ulamas) who were previously engaged in discussions to facilitate the restoration of constitutional democratic governance in Niger Republic. The aim is to hasten progress in their ongoing dialogue with the military junta.
At the State House in Abuja, the President received a thorough briefing on Thursday from the Ulamas, led by Sheikh Bala Lau. This briefing followed the Ulamas’ two recent visits to Niger Republic.
The Islamic leaders informed the President that the military junta was receptive to further dialogue with ECOWAS. They mentioned that more measures were being taken to prevent armed conflict, including a more detailed acceptance of ECOWAS’ position by officials of the Niger military council.
In response to the Ulama delegation, and considering rumors spread by domestic political figures, President Tinubu stressed his commitment to peaceful conflict resolution. Despite pressure for swift intervention, he highlighted his role in restraining potential reactions from various quarters.
He stated, “I am managing a very serious situation. If you take ECOWAS aside, other people will react, those who are outside of our control. I am the one holding those sides back. I am the one holding back ECOWAS.”
Emphasizing the urgency, President Tinubu added, ”Even as of this morning, I have received numerous phone calls regarding countries’ readiness with their military forces and contributions. However, I have advised them to wait. I am meeting with the Ulamas, and I will revert to you.”
President Tinubu communicated to the Islamic delegation that the military junta must be held accountable for endangering the entire population of Niger Republic. He emphasized, “They cannot wield the weapons entrusted to them for protecting the country’s sovereignty and turn them against the people.”
President Tinubu assured that ECOWAS remains resolute in diplomatically engaging all stakeholders to achieve a peaceful resolution to the deadlock in Niger Republic. He pledged, “I will draw a clear line and ask you to make arrangements to return to Niger Republic.”
Regarding the Ulamas’ request for the Federal Government to oversee palliative distribution to states, the President promised additional assistance for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises nationwide. He also called upon state governments to ensure transparent and accountable management of these aids.
He continued, “The residents are in the states. Even if I establish a panel, I would have to work through the governors and local governments. We will continue engaging with the governors. Nigerians must hold them accountable.”
“In a constitutional democracy, it’s unprecedented for a president to issue orders to states from here. I can only appeal to them to implement. The residents are in the states, and if the Governors aren’t performing adequately, the people must vote them out,” he concluded.
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