Tinubu snubs Niger coup leaders’ overtures for direct talks

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has rejected overtures by the head of the military junta Niger Republic, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, to have direct access and discussion with him. This came amidst renewed efforts to resolve the crisis in the West African country.

According to diplomatic sources, consenting to such direct one-on-one talks is both an assault on democratic governance in the region and disrespect to the still-detained Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum.

The Ulamas conveyed the request of General Abdourahamane Tchiani to have a direct one-on-one interaction with the Nigerian President who is also the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government as a possible way to resolve the crisis.

In the meeting held in Abuja on August 24, the sources said President Tinubu point blank ruled out any such interaction with the head of an illegal government that came to power through a military Coup toppling a democratically elected government of Niger.

The Nigerian government also confirmed that indeed President Tinubu’s position is that having a direct interaction with Tchiani would improperly legitimise a coupist whose government is not even recognised by ECOWAS. “The President out rightly rejected the overture, insisting that ECOWAS leaders would be disappointed besides the fact that such an interaction would send the wrong signal about democratic governance in the continent.”

While many in the African diplomatic community especially are of the view that President Tinubu’s rejection of a direct talk with Tchiani at this point would indeed be a bad signal, the impasse over the Niger crisis has persisted without much ray of hope. Diplomats added that a concerted front among President Tinubu and other ECOWAS leaders remained an imperative in dealing with the military takeover.

But Niger diplomats in New York also argued that sending envoys from the Nigerian government who are themselves former military government beneficiaries to the coupists in Niger is itself a conflicting signal although the Niger military junta eventually interacted with them.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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