Niger’s military leaders headed by General Abdourahmane Tchiani have disclosed the reason they ignored the delegation led by Nigeria’s former military Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd) in their efforts to restore the toppled government.
President Bola Tinubu had sent the high-powered team which included Abubakar and the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, to end Niger’s crisis through dialogue.
The delegation, however, came back to Nigeria without getting the attention of the junta..
However, as ECOWAS continues to find lasting solutions to the crisis, Nigeria’s intervention team comprising prominent Islamic scholars visited the coup leaders at the weekend, with dialogue as the mechanism to resolve the political crisis.
At the meeting, the junta told the Islamic Ulammas led by Sheik Bala Lau that the coup leaders were angry when the delegation led by Abubakar came.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Lau on behalf of the Intervention Team on Sunday.
General Tchiani, who received the clerics with warmth, said it was painful to the coup leaders that the ECOWAS leaders did not hear their side of the matter before issuing ultimatum to them to quit office.
In the meeting held for several hours in Niger’s capital, Niamey, Tchiani said he would give room for both parties to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.
He claimed the coup was well intended, stating that they struck to starve off an imminent threat that would have affected not only Niger Republic but also Nigeria.
He also apologised for not according the team sent by President Tinubu the required attention because they were angry about the ECOWAS ultimatum.
Lau, who is the National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, said the clerics were in Niger on behalf of President Tinubu who accepted their request to intervene.
Speaking with journalists in Niamey after the meeting, another member of the intervention team and Chief Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria, Sheik Ahmad Abdulrahman, said contrary to reports in some sections of the media, the team was well received by General Tchiani and both parties had fruitful discussions.
“We will now go back home and report to President Tinubu what we have discussed and press it on him that war is not an option in resolving the matter.
“We believe that war is an ill wind that will not blow any good and that peaceful resolution should prevail,” Abdulrahman said.