Economic Community of West African States, on Friday, debunked claims that the regional bloc was being surreptitiously instigated by foreign powers to attack Niger Republic.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, said this while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
On July 26, President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic was ousted in a military coup led by the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, Abdourahamane Tchiani.
ECOWAS condemned the action, urging the junta to return power to the democratically elected president.
Touray said, “Let me reiterate that fifth columnists have unfortunately been misrepresenting our decisions and actions, deriding regional authorities as being tele-guided by foreign powers with nefarious intentions.
“Let me remind everyone that ECOWAS is a community of rules and regulations, norms, and values. These principles, which have been accumulated over the 48 years of its existence, and they underpin its actions.
“We are therefore not under the dictate of any extra-regional power or interests. Our interest is rather the protection of the rights of our people with the objective of building a rules-based community and fostering peace and prosperity for all in our region.”
The ECOWAS Commission President stressed that the sub-regional body had neither declared war on the people of Niger Republic nor planning to invade the country.
He added, “For the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally that ECOWAS has neither declared war on the people of Niger nor is there a plan, as it is being purported, to ‘invade’ the country.
“The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has only activated a full-scale application of sanctions which includes the use of legitimate force to restore constitutional order.”
He said the ECOWAS would keep all options on the table for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Touray noted that the Niger Republic subscribed to the bloc’s rules and regulations to deploy measures to support its fight against terrorism to ensure the restoration of democracy, peace, and security in the community.
The ECOWAS President noted that preparations were on top gear to deploy the standby force to Niger, urging the Niger junta to reinstate President Bazoum.
Touray further said, “So, while we are determined to bend over backward to accommodate diplomatic efforts, we are not unaware of the true intentions of some of the members of the Niger junta. At first, they snubbed our diplomatic efforts but recently began to show signs of being amenable, only for them to take a dangerous path by putting in place a government, and an unacceptable transition timeline.
“Let me reiterate that the decision of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government…is to work for the peaceful restoration of civilian rule in the Niger Republic without any delay and to use all the instruments at the disposal of ECOWAS towards the attainment of this goal.
“As for the other countries in transition, namely Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, ECOWAS will continue to support their transition processes, as directed by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
“We will continue to support their fight against terrorism to ensure the restoration of democracy, peace, and security in our community. We will also continue to work with them on their agreed transition timetables.”