By Ebi Kesiena
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Yusuf Tuggar, has expressed Nigeria’s appeal to Niger’s governing junta for the release of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
In an interview published by Channels TV, Tuggar, representing President Bola Tinubu’s administration, conveyed the request for Niger’s military governors to release President Bazoum, allowing him to depart Niger.
Tuggar said, “He will no longer be in custody; he will relocate to a third country agreed upon mutually. Subsequently, discussions regarding the removal of sanctions can commence.”
The West African foreign minister highlighted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) remains open to dialogue with Niger’s junta. “The opportunity is there. We are always ready, willing, and able to listen to them, and the ball is in their court,” he affirmed.
Nigeria, currently holding the chairmanship of ECOWAS, has imposed sanctions on Niger following the July coup that removed Bazoum from power. While ECOWAS had demanded Bazoum’s immediate return to the presidency, the military junta has detained him, asserting the potential need for up to three years before a return to civilian rule.
However, ECOWAS leaders are scheduled to convene in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on December 10 to discuss regional matters. Since 2020, coups have led to military juntas assuming power in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Niger. Notably, a recent failed coup attempt in Sierra Leone, another ECOWAS member, resulted in 21 casualties.