Niger Coup: Explore All Avenues For Peaceful Resolution, SMBLF Advises Tinubu

Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting

THE Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has “strongly” admonished chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to explore all avenues for a peaceful resolution of the Niger Republic quagmire.

Stonix News recalled that a military junta led by the commander of the Presidential Guard, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, who also goes by the first name of Omar, emerged as the leader of the coup and declared himself the head of Niger’s transitional government.

The military hijacked political power on July 27 suspended the constitution after ousting a democratically-elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum.

The admonition was offered on Wednesday in a statement signed by leader, Chief Edwin Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Leader, Afenifere; Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu,

President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo (Worldwide); Dr. Pogu Bitrus, President, Middle Belt Forum, and Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, National Chairman, PANDEF, SMBLF

“This matter is delicate and could affect our country’s unity and, security, and put a heavy financial burden on us, at a time when our national challenges are more than can be imagined.

“We hope Mr. President will carefully continue to take heed on doing what will not create additional problems for the country and take the best decisions, in line with our national interest.

“And we also urge our brothers and sisters in the border states to cooperate with the President in resolving this matter peacefully, amicably, and urgently,” the group advised.

However, SMBLF further stated that, “as important as the restoration of democracy is to Nigeria, the ECOWAS, and the global community, we advise President Tinubu to realize that his primary responsibility is to the peace and security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all actions of our government should therefore focus on how Nigeria can play its roles and obligations without getting stuck in the crisis in Niger.

“This is why we commend the President for taking moves to follow up negotiations and political contact using the former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and the Sultan of Sokoto.

“This process should be accelerated, using other sources both within Nigeria and our neighboring countries that can be of benefit to the cause. The information available to us shows that there are other personalities in Nigeria and international figures who can also be used to intervene in the matter.

“We discourage the temptation to adopt military means to force the illegal government out of power. From our judgementjudgementa, such a move will be resisted sternly by forces both within Niger and Nigeria.

“It is important to note that several of our Nigerian communities in the extreme north do not see Niger as mere neighbors but enjoy a lot of traditional and cultural ties. In those border areas, there is no difference between a Nigerian and a Nigerien.”

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