Following a meeting with a delegation of Nigerian Islamic scholars, Abdourahmane Tchiani, the leader of the junta in Niger, expressed his willingness to engage in diplomatic dialogue to resolve the ongoing political crisis in the country.
Tchiani met with the delegation led by Bala Lau, the national chairman of Jam’atul Izalatu Bid’ah Waikatu Sunnah, for several hours in Niamey, the capital of Niger. The Islamic scholars traveled to Niger at the request of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who accepted their offer to mediate the conflict.
In a statement released by Lau on Sunday, it was revealed that the discussions covered a wide variety of topics, including the demand by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the reinstatement of democratically elected President Bazoum.
Tchiani expressed regret that the junta’s viewpoint had not been considered by ECOWAS prior to the issuance of ultimatums and emphasized that the coup was intended to thwart an imminent threat to both Niger Republic and Nigeria.
Tchiani stated, “Our doors are open to explore diplomacy and peace as a means of resolving the matter.”
He acknowledged the purpose of the rebellion and apologized for not paying adequate attention to the delegation sent by President Tinubu previously. He cited the ultimatum issued by ECOWAS as a factor contributing to the tensions.
In response to a query about the junta’s stance on dialogue, Niger’s prime minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, who was appointed by the junta, stated, "Yes, without a doubt.
This is precisely what our country’s leader told them; he did not state that he was not receptive to dialogue. He expressed optimism regarding upcoming discussions with ECOWAS in the coming days, in the aim of lifting the sanctions.
The prime minister further described the ECOWAS sanctions as “an injustice,” arguing that they violated the organization’s regulations.
He expressed confidence that the dialogue with ECOWAS would result in a resolution to rescind the sanctions and emphasized the junta’s dedication to finding peaceful solutions to the crisis.
As diplomatic efforts continue, the international community closely observes whether the junta and ECOWAS can reach an agreement that will bring stability to the region.