President Bola Tinubu has revealed that there is increasing pressure on him to deploy military force in Niger Republic.
Tinubu, who is also chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stated this while hosting top Islamic clerics (Ulama), led by Sheikh Bala Lau, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday.
He stressed that his commitment to peaceful resolution coaches his approach to the lingering political crisis in the Uranium-rich country.
Recall that the delegation of the Nigerian Islamic clerics visited Niger on August 13, 2023 and met with the putschists who seized power in Niamey, on July 26. The visit by the cleric was part of diplomatic efforts to restore democracy in the troubled francophone West African nation.
The clerics’ visit to Tinubu was the second. The first time they visited was August 9, a day after their first visit to have talks with the junta.
The Republic reports that the president okayed the Ulama’s request to continue the talks with the coup leaders urging them to expedite action as time was of the essence.
“I am managing a very serious situation… 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 Ulama and I will get back to you,” Tinubu said.
”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.”
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Ajuri Ngelale, said in a statement that Tinubu received a comprehensive briefing from the clerics on their visits to Niamey.
The Islamic leaders, according to Ngelale, informed the president that the coup leaders were open to deepening dialogue with ECOWAS in order to forestall armed conflicts.