Abdulsalami Abubakar, leader of the ECOWAS delegation to Niger Republic, says stakeholders will find lasting solutions as the delegation submit its report on the points raised by the military junta to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Abubakar, a former Nigerian military head of state spoke to reporters Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after a meeting convened by President Tinubu and attended by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, and the national security adviser (NSA) to the president, Nuhu Ribadu.
Tinubu was elected the chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last month.
Last weekend, Abubakar, who with the members of his delegation held a meeting with the ousted Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum, and the heads of the country’s military junta, said he had delivered the terms of the Abdouramane Tchiani-led junta to ECOWAS.
According to the former Nigeria head of state, correspondences had begun between the West African regional bloc and the military in Niger.
He said the line of contact opened by ECOWAS through his appointment as envoy had been very fruitful, expressing hope that something concrete would soon come out of it.
“As you are aware, the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have made me an envoy to Niger Republic and we were there over the weekend to see the military people and discussed to find a way out of the lacuna we find ourselves.
“So, that’s why I’m here this afternoon, together with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, to give a report back to Mr. President on our discussions in Niger. I must say that our visit to Niger has been very fruitful and that it has opened an avenue to start talking and hopefully, we’ll get somewhere,” he said.
On the divergence in opinions of both the regional bloc and the junta about a quick return to democratic rule, Abubakar said “Well, like I said, we’ve started talking, they have made their own points and then I made my report to the Chairman of the ECOWAS Heads of state and President. He will now consult with his colleagues and then we’ll get somewhere hopefully.”
Answering questions on any possibility of avoiding military action, Abubakar said “Hopefully diplomacy will see the better of this. Nobody wants to go to war, it doesn’t pay anybody, but then again, our leaders have said if all fails and I don’t think all will fail, we’ll get somewhere we’ll get out of this mess”.