Coup: Again, Tinubu sends Islamic leaders to Niger for dialogue
President Bola Tinubu has approved the return of a delegation of Islamic leaders (Ulama) to Niger Republic for fresh round of dialogue with the coup leaders.
The President gave the approval on Thursday after a meeting with top clerics, led by Sheikh Bala Lau, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
Recall that President Tinubu on August 9 received the Islamic leaders in Abuja and approved their request to intervene in the face-off between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Niger Republic over the coup that ousted the Mohamed Bazoum-led democratic administration.
Their intervention move, which followed an earlier move by ECOWAS, which already sent a mission, led by former Nigerian military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, was successful as the Ulama became the first interface between the regional bloc and head of the junta, General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
However, at the meeting Thursday, President Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS, encouraged the clerics to continue with their dialogue with the junta, expressing his preference for a peaceful resolution of the, noting though that all options are still on the table.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the President had urged the Ulama to intensify dialogue, saying he (Tinubu) is interested in exploring peaceful options.
“The Council of Ulamas has returned to the President for the second time, to give a report on their ongoing dialogue with the military junta and other stakeholders in Niger They have briefed Mr President on the situation and the effort is ongoing.
“Mr President has listened to them and will continue this dialogue. He is interested in exploring peaceful options, but nothing is off the table.”
He has asked the Ulamas to continue with their dialogue and they will continue to do that”, he said.
On what next line of action would be, Idris said “the next line of action is that dialogue will continue. Mr President, as the head of ECOWAS, is interested in pursuing resolution of this crisis, but like I said, nothing is off the table. Mr President has said they should continue to engage and the Ulamas will continue to do that.
“By the way, he has appreciated their efforts to finding solution to this issue, he’s encouraging them to continue. He has thanked them and efforts are ongoing”, the Minister said.
Also speaking to newsmen after the meeting, leader of the delegation of the Ulama, Sheikh Bala Lau, called for prayers from the entire West African subregion, explaining that the body of clerics offered to to intervene because they do not want war in the subregion.
He disclosed that the team would be returning to Niger to continue with dialogue just as he expressed optimism that peaceful approach would yield the desired results.
“First and foremost, we thank Allah for giving us the opportunity and we appreciate and commend the efforts of His Excellency the President 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 have us the mandate that we should continue to take this dialogue and discuss with the junta over there because they have 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 opportunity.
“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 religion. I’m optimistic, Insha Allah, with this intervention, Allah will answer our prayers,” Lau said.
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