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Finally, Niger Junta Agrees To Open Peace Talks

Leaders of Nigeria’s Intervention Team on the military crisis in Niger Republic comprising prominent Islamic scholars on Sunday reached a truce with the junta for an intensified option of dialogue that could douse rising tension for a possible return of peace to the troubled country.

The General Abdourahmane Tchiani-led military junta in Niger had recently turned down several requests from both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Nigeria, and defiantly disregarded a seven-day ultimatum given by the sub-regional body for a reversal of their illegitimate actions.

The coup plotters majorly soldiers from Niger’s presidential guard on July 26 this year, deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, closed the country’s borders and last Thursday announced a new government in the middle of discussions by ECOWAS leaders.

Sheik Bala Lau, National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu said his negotiation team backed by ECOWAS Chairman who is President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu at the weekend met with the coup leaders in Niger where both parties agreed to resolve the political crisis in that country.

According to a statement, Sheik Lau team engaged the coupists for several hours in Niger’s capital Niamey during which they deliberated on all the issues including the demands by ECOWAS leaders that former President Bazoum be freed, reinstated with members of his family given total freedom.

Sheik Lau explained that President Tinubu had accepted to support his negotiation team which is urging ECOWAS leaders to consider dialogue as the best option in resolving the political impasse in Niger.

While in Niamey, Sheik Lau said his team told General Tchiani that the visit to Niger was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war in helping to resolve the crisis.

The statement said General Tchiani who accorded the team warm reception welcomed their intervention and disclosed their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.

General Tchiani, however, said it was painful to the coup leaders that the ECOWAS leaders did not hear their side of the matter before issuing ultimatum to them to quit office.

The military leader claimed that the coup was well intended, stating that they struck to starve off an imminent threat that would have affected not only Niger Republic but also Nigeria.


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