The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it has begun the activation of its standby force in Niger Republic to restore constitutional order.
ECOWAS said this after a meeting of the bloc’s defence chiefs in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, on Wednesday.
Although the defence chiefs had backed the calls for dialogue backed as a mediation tactic in Niger, the group said all elements that would go into any military intervention had been worked out and were being refined.
This included the timing, resources needed and how, where and when to deploy such force.
Last Thursday, ECOWAS directed the deployment of standby military troops in Niger after the country’s junta defied the bloc’s deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
The resolve was made at the end of the second extraordinary summit held to resolve the crisis.
Speaking at the meeting, President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS chairperson, said the bloc’s leaders were mandated to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger.
Tinubu said it was necessary for action because the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.
The ECOWAS chairperson assured that the bloc would remain steadfast in its commitment to supporting Niger in the journey towards peaceful democratic stability in the country.
Few days after the bloc’s actions, Niger’s military junta said they were ready to explore diplomatic dialogue after a meeting with Nigeria’s intervention team comprising Islamic scholars.
However, in a fresh twist, the Niger military administration said it would prosecute the “deposed president and his local and foreign accomplices before the competent national and international authorities for high treason and undermining internal and external security”.
ECOWAS kicked against the development, saying Bazoum’s prosecution would contradict the earlier accepted willingness of the junta to restore constitutional order through peaceful means.