Retired Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the ECOWAS envoy on the Niger Republic crisis, said discussions with the military junta was fruitful on the way forward.
He said this on Monday in Abuja after submitting a report on their visit to Niamey to President Bola Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
Abubakar, who was accompanied by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, said the ECOWAS would continue to explore all options.
He said that the ECOWAS delegation met with the military junta in Niamey on Saturday and discussed on amicably resolving the imbroglio.
‘’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.
‘’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.
Abubakar said that the delegation also presented the three years transitional plan of the junta to Tinubu who would table it before the regions Heads of State and Government.
‘’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 the ding-dong starts and we’ll get somewhere hopefully,’’ he said.
On the possibility of engaging in dialogue instead of military options to resolve the Niger crisis, he insisted that the leaders still want to employ diplomatic options.
‘’Hopefully diplomacy will see the better of this. Nobody wants to go to war. It doesn’t pay anybody, but then, 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.’’
During the Niger meeting in Niamey on Saturday, Abubakar met with President Mohamed Bazoum who was reported not to be receiving adequate health attention along with his family.
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at its meeting last week had ordered the deployment of a military standby force to restore constitutional rule in Niger.(NAN)