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President Tinubu reportedly snubs Niger coup leaders’ overtures for direct talks

A report by Empowered Newswire indicates that overtures by the head of the military junta in the Niger Republic, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, to have direct access and discussion with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been outrightly rejected by the Nigerian leader.

Diplomatic sources quoted in the report stated that consenting to such direct one-on-one talks is a disrespect to the still-detained Nigerien president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Tchiani’s request was reportedly conveyed to President Tinubu by a group of Muslim Ulamas who had met with the Nigerian leader in Abuja about a month after the Niger coup.

The Ulamas conveyed the request of General Abdourahamane Tchiani to have direct one-on-one interaction with the Nigerian president, who is also the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) chairman, as a possible way to resolve the crisis.

In the meeting held on the 24th of August, the sources said President Tinubu point blank ruled out any such interaction with the head of an illegal government that came to power through a military coup toppling a democratically elected government of Niger.

“The President outrightly rejected the overture, insisting that ECOWAS leaders would be disappointed besides the fact that such an interaction would send the wrong signal about democratic governance in the continent,” a source said.

It would be recalled that former head of state General Abdusalami Abubakar and the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Muhammad Abubakar, had visited Niger to discuss a possible resolution on the 19th of August, a few days before the Niger Ulamas discussed with President Tinubu.

Before the visit to Niger by both Abdusalami and the Sultan, the former head of state had travelled to Niamey but was not able to meet with the leaders of the new military junta.

Later, on the 9th of August, Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi released visuals of a successful meeting with the coup leaders.

And observers say the emir was successful in his bid to meet with Tchiani and other members of the Military Junta because of his position as the Khalifa of the Tijaniyya Islamic sect, with a significant following in Niger.

ECOWAS had appointed Abdulsalami to lead a delegation to Niger for mediation.

And it was also decided that he be accompanied by the Sultan of Sokoto, who is believed to be influential among the Muslim community in Niger, just as in Nigeria.

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