President Bola Tinubu has said he’s been holding back other leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from carrying out their collective threat on the military junta in Niger Republic.
According to the Nigerian President who played host to a delegation of Islamic scholars (Ulamas), on Thursday, they must expedite progress in their ongoing dialogue with the military junta so as not to incur the wrath of ECOWAS.
Recall that the Ulamas were previously engaged in discussions with the military junta to facilitate the restoration of constitutional democratic governance in Niger Republic.
Thursday’s delegation to the Villa was led by Sheikh Bala Lau, who gave a comprehensive briefing on the outcome of their interface with Niger junta to President Tinubu.
The briefing followed the Ulamas’ two most recent visits to Niger Republic.
According to the Islamic leaders, the military junta was open to deepening dialogue with ECOWAS as more steps are being taken to forestall armed conflict, with a more detailed acceptance of the ECOWAS position by Niger military council officials.
But responding to the delegation of Ulamas, against the backdrop of ethnic rumours peddled by domestic political figures inside and outside of the country, President Tinubu emphasised that he is at the forefront of a peaceful resolution of the crisis, even in the midst of more hawkish individuals urging swifter intervention.
“I am managing a very serious situation. If you take ECOWAS aside, other people will react, those who are outside of our control. I am the one holding those sides back. I am the one holding back ECOWAS,” he disclosed.
Addressing the urgency of the situation, the president added: “‘Even this morning, I have been inundated with phone calls on the readiness of countries with their military force and contributions. However, I told them to wait. I am meeting with the Ulamas and I will get back to you.”
President Tinubu told the Islamic delegation that the military junta must be held accountable for putting the entire people of Niger Republic in jeopardy.
”They cannot use the gun given to them to protect the sovereignty of the country and turn it against the people of the country,” he said.