… says ‘ECOWAS won’t tolerate anti-democratic acts within sub-region’
President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, frowned upon the unfolding “mutiny” and attempted coup in Niger Republic.
Tinubu, who is also the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States, said the sub-regional body would not tolerate acts that undermine democracy in its fold.
Heavy military presence had been reported in the presidential palace in Niamey, Niger’s capital city, on Wednesday morning.
Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum was said to be held hostage by soldiers, who reportedly denied him access to his office and residence, actions signifying a possible coup d’état.
But Tinubu in a terse statement on Wednesday, warned that the leadership of ECOWAS would not tolerate any situation capable of incapacitating the democratically-elected government of Niger.
Tinubu’s statement read, “The ECOWAS leadership will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.
“I wish to say that we are closely monitoring the situation and developments in Niger and we will do everything within our powers to ensure democracy is firmly planted, nurtured, well rooted and thrives in our region.”
The Nigerian President stated that he was in close consultation with other leaders in the region, vowing to protect “our hard-earned democracy in line with the universally acceptable principle of constitutionalism”.
He added, “As the chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, I state without equivocation that Nigeria stands firmly with the elected government in Niger and equally conveys the absolute resolve of leaders in our sub-region that we shall not waiver or flinch on our stand to defend and preserve constitutional order.”
Niger has become one of the most unstable nations in the world, experiencing four coups since independence from France in 1960.
Following a thwarted coup attempt in March 2021, days before Bazoum was due to be sworn in, former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari had also expressed displeasure with the shaky governance structure in Niger.
Buhari, who was also a former ECOWAS chairperson, described the attempted coup as “utterly naïve, despicable, and unacceptable”.
He had urged African leaders to “remain united against coups under whatever guise or form”, and warned “coup plotters to learn from history on the consequences of instability caused by violent takeover of governments”.