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Tinubu sends Sheikh Bala Lau, other Islamic leaders to meet with Niger junta

Nigerian Islamic religion leaders, despatched by President Bola Tinubu, arrived in Niger on Saturday to meet members of the military who seized power in the country last month.

The Nigerien newly appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine received the delegation at the capital’s Diori Hamani airport, Niger’s ANP press agency reported.

The delegation comprises Muslim religious leaders and Sheikh Bala Lau, leader of the Izala Salafist movement in Nigeria.

According to Nigerien media, coup leader General Abdourahamane Tchiani and junta-appointed Prime Minister Ali Maham Lamine Zeine met with the delegation.

A source close to the delegation told AFP that the group had left on their mediation mission with the consent of Nigerian leader Bola Tinubu and the current president of the ECOWAS.

“The clerical delegation is currently in Niamey on the mandate of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to douse the tension created by the prospect of military intervention by ECOWAS,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The clerics are in Niamey to explain to the junta leaders that Nigeria is not fighting Niger and that the decisions taken on Niger are not Nigeria’s but those of ECOWAS as a regional bloc,” the source said.

Lau had earlier in the week led a delegation of clerics who met with Tinubu in his office in Nigeria’s capital, where the mission was discussed, the source said.

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