Sanusi meets with Niger military leaders
Former Nigerian Central Bank Governor and 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, has met with the coup leaders in Niger.
Sanusi’s meeting came after the military junta declined a scheduled meeting with representatives from the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and diplomats from the United States.
Niger has been in the international spotlight following a military coup that has sent shockwaves through the region for the past few days.
The country’s presidential guard, a group that was supposed to protect democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, blockaded the presidential palace.
Soldiers appeared on state TV to announce they had removed the president from power, seized control of the government, and suspended the constitution.
Later, the commander of the guard, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, who also goes by the first name of Omar, emerged as the leader of the coup and declared himself the head of Niger’s transitional government.
The Nigerien junta has justified its actions by claiming that they were in response to the “continuing deterioration of the security situation”, adding that the president’s measures did not go far enough to protect Niger.
The situation in Niger has escalated rapidly since the coup, and Tchiani and his group have not been recognised internationally by any countries as the lawful leaders of the country.
Regional organisations like the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have both condemned the coup and called for a restoration of constitutional order as part of the prompt international response.
ECOWAS, particularly, has been unequivocal in its response to the coup, suspending ties with Niger and agreeing to immediate financial sanctions.
Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, also disconnected the supply of 150 megawatts of electricity daily to the Niger Republic as part of ECOWAS’ efforts to restore democracy there.
France, Niger’s former colonial power, also stated that it “will not tolerate any attack on France and its interests”. The military junta has also accused France of plotting military intervention to reinstate the president – the French foreign minister has emphatically denied any such intention.
France has also cut off financial support, along with Britain and the rest of the EU, a move that will hurt Niger as it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has also offered the ousted president his “unflagging support” during a phone call, adding that the military coup threatens the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic support the US provides Niger.
However, these efforts were thwarted when the junta cancelled a scheduled meeting, deepening concerns about their willingness to engage in peaceful negotiations.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, footage of Sanusi, whose Tijjaniya sect has a large following in Niger, went into circulation.
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