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Tinubu’s remarks on Islamic leaders spark outrage



Screenshot 2023 08 24 at 6.10.08 PM

President Bola Tinubu has instructed the group of Muslim Ulamas engaged in mediating the crisis in Niger Republic to revisit discussions with the junta, aiming to establish a preliminary commitment.

Following a private meeting with the president, Ustaz Abdullahi Bala-Lau, who leads the delegation, conveyed that Tinubu expressed a strong preference for resolving the crisis and reinstating constitutional order in Niger without resorting to force.

Bala-Lau mentioned that Tinubu embraced their recommendations to seek non-violent solutions for resolving disputes, particularly those involving neighboring countries and longstanding allies.

“The president welcomed our proposal to abstain from employing force under all circumstances. Just as we successfully advocated for a commitment to non-violence from Niger’s leaders, the president also endorsed this approach,” Bala-Lau explained.

“He has thus decided to send us back to Niger to continue the dialogue aimed at reinstating constitutional order in the nation. Additionally, he directed us to remind the military leaders about the outstanding ECOWAS decisions regarding the coup,” Bala-Lau further elaborated.

He added that the intervention of the Ulamas yielded positive outcomes, facilitating the junta’s acceptance of the ECOWAS delegation led by retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad III.

Bala-Lau said that Ulamas would be heading back to Niger in order to continue the dialogue, adding that they also understand that war must be the last option put on the table.

Also speaking, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prints, said that the meeting by the president with the Ulamas was a sign of the ECOWAS openness to 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.

At the 2nd Extraordinary Summit on the socio-political situation in the West African country on Aug. 10 in Abuja, Tinubu reiterated the ECOWAS intention to defend democracy and protect the people of Niger.

‘’We have reaffirmed our commitment to the people of Niger and to the progress of our entire ECOWAS Community.

“We will continue with that. From the Communiqué of this extraordinary summit, no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as the last resort. If we don’t do it, no one else will do it for us.

“We remain steadfast in supporting Niger in the journey toward peace and democratic stability.

“The road ahead will undoubtedly have challenges, but I firmly believe that with our collective resolve, we can navigate these obstacles and chart a path toward peace and prosperity for Nigeriens and citizens of ECOWAS,” Tinubu said.

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