By Enyichukwu Enemanna
A team of mediators delegates sent by regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), left Niger without meeting General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the junta which seized power in a coup, or the deposed leader, President Mohamed Bazoum.
The delegation led by former Nigerian leader, Abdulsalami Abubakar had arrived in the capital Niamey on Thursday “but did not spend the night” as scheduled, nor meet with Tchiani, a member of the team said on Friday.
The Nigerian Presidency had announced that the team was initially due to meet Tiani to present ECOWAS’s demands, which border on reinstatement of Bazoum as the country’s duly recognised leader.
At a meeting of the bloc in Abuja, leaders had given Tchiani, former head of the presidential guards unit that seized power seven days ultimatum to exit.
Nigerian President and Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government Bola Tinubu has said the bloc would do its best to resolve the crisis amicably.
ECOWAS also said it could resort to military intervention as a last resort to restore democratic structure in the country.
Niger’s junta meanwhile warned it would meet force with force.
“Any aggression or attempted aggression against the State of Niger will see an immediate and unannounced response from the Niger Defence and Security Forces on one of (the bloc’s) members,” one of the putschists said in a statement read on national television late Thursday.
Mali and Burkina Faso have said any attempt to use military action to restore power in Niger would be considered a declaration of war on the two countries.