President Bola Tinubu has asked the delegation of Nigerian
Muslim leaders, (Ulamas), to return to the Niger Republic for more diplomatic
talks with the military junta.
Tinubu gave the directive on Thursday after the Ulamas
briefed him on the outcome of their last mission made on behalf of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
After the meeting with Tinubu, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, who led
the delegation, spoke to State House correspondents and expressed his
appreciation for the opportunity to meet with the president.
He also emphasised the Ulamas’ commitment to peaceful and
amicable dialogue with the military junta in Niger Republic.
Sheikh Bauchi called for fervent prayers from the entire
community across the region to ensure that peace and harmony continue to reign.
“First and foremost, we thank Allah for giving us the
opportunity and we appreciate and commend the efforts of his excellency the
president,” he said.
“And as you saw, we have just met with him and told him all
what went on there in Niger and he appreciated and he still has us the mandate
that we should continue to make this dialogue and discuss with the junta over
there, because they gave us listening ears and we are sure, through peaceful
discussions we’ll be able to achieve what we want.
“We are still going
back there to ensure that through peaceful and amicable ways, as spiritual
leaders, we’ll be able to do and contribute what we can be able to do.
“What we want? We don’t want war, we want peace to reign in
our region. So may Allah continue to bless the president for giving us this
“We want serious and fervent prayers from the entire
community, across the region so that Allah will grant us that so that peace and
harmony will continue to reign.
“Without peace and harmony, there’s nothing we can do. We
can’t even enjoy the dividends of democracy and you cannot even practice your
“I’m optimistic, Insha Allah, with this intervention, Allah
will answer our prayers.”
The Ulamas said they are opposed to war with the Nigerien
military, as threatened by ECOWAS.
They added that apart from the dire consequences of the use
of force, they are enjoined by their religious faith and the Quran to seek
mediation first in cases like that of Niger before resorting to war.
The return of the Islamic leaders to Niger comes as ECOWAS
defence chiefs said the bloc still favours diplomacy even though a day for
military intervention had been fixed, as a last resort.
Abdulsalami Abubakar, former head of state, had also assured
that diplomatic interventions to restore constitutional order in Niger will
After leading an ECOWAS delegation to the unstable West
African country, Abdulsalami said discussions with Niger’s military junta had
been very fruitful, expressing hope that positive actions will soon come out of
James Heappey, the United Kingdom’s minister of state for
the armed forces, said the UK recognised Nigeria’s diplomatic mediation efforts
to peacefully restore democracy in its northern neighbour.
Heappey added that the UK would continue to support Nigeria
and ECOWAS in their efforts to ensure that constitutional order returns to the
Tiani had announced that the country would hand over power
in three years but ECOWAS rejected the plan, adding that it would no longer
tolerate prolonged transition periods in the sub-region.
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