The delegation of Muslim Ulamas resolving the issue in the Niger Republic has been ordered by President Bola Tinubu to go back to the junta for a preliminary commitment.
Ustaz Abdullahi Bala-Lau, the delegation’s head, said after a private meeting with the president that Tinubu was keen to avoid using force to end the conflict and restore constitutional order to Niger.
He said Tinubu had agreed to follow their advice to refrain from using force to settle disputes of any type, especially those involving neighbors and longtime allies.
The president was receptive to our suggestions about avoiding the use of force by all means. Just as we have spoken to the leaders in Niger and they accepted to avoid violence, the president also accepted it.
That is why he is sending us back to Niger to continue with the dialogue about restoring constitutional order to the country. He also directed us to remind the military leaders that there is a pending ECOWAS decision about the takeover, Bala-Lau said.
He described the Ulamas’ intervention as positive, adding that it enabled the junta to accept the ECOWAS delegation of retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad III.
Bala-Lau stated that Ulamas would return to Niger to continue the dialogue, adding that they understand that war must be the last option considered.
Speaking at the event, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prints, stated that the president’s meeting with the Ulamas demonstrated ECOWAS’s willingness to engage in dialogue.
As you know, the ECOWAS leaders were open to all options but still they are continuing with dialogue aggressively. This is a sign that the military action will be the last option. The Ulamas involvement is a way forward.
Definitely, when you are engaged in a dialogue it’s usually a back-and-forth issue. All sides must be given opportunity to express themselves fully.
Dialogue and diplomatic trading is not a one-off thing and it need to be explored to the fullest. That is what the president is trying to do in this case, Abdulaziz said.
Tinubu reiterated ECOWAS’ intention to defend democracy and protect the people of Niger at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the West African country on August 10 in Abuja.