ECOWAS Leaders Gather For An Emergency Summit Over Niger Coup

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are set to gather in an emergency summit on Thursday, August 10, 2023, to address the escalating crisis in Niger, where the military’s refusal to reinstate the elected president has raised tensions within the region.

The summit comes two weeks after the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power, shaking the stability of the fragile nation. The ECOWAS, composed of 15 member nations, has expressed its commitment to pursuing a diplomatic solution to the crisis while keeping open the possibility of employing force if deemed necessary.

The high-stakes meeting, scheduled to take place in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, is anticipated to yield crucial decisions, according to a statement released by the regional organisation on Tuesday, August 08, 2023.

In a bid to curb a series of coups that have plagued several member states since 2020, ECOWAS had given the military leaders who took control on July 26 a deadline to reinstate President Bazoum or face potential military intervention. However, the coup leaders remained defiant, letting the deadline lapse without any action.

The contemplation of a military intervention in Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations, has ignited deliberations within ECOWAS and has prompted concerns from neighboring countries, including Algeria and Russia.

Niger’s neighboring states, Mali and Burkina Faso, both governed by military regimes that seized power through coups, have warned that such an intervention would be tantamount to a declaration of war against their nations.

In an additional twist to the crisis, a former emir of Nigeria’s Kano city, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, revealed that he had engaged with the coup leaders to mediate the turmoil. Sanusi, though not an official government representative, communicated his interactions with coup leader General Abdourahamane Tiani. He indicated his intent to deliver a “message” to Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, emphasising his close association with Tinubu.

✍️ Pulse