The military junta in the Niger Republic has reportedly agree to dialogue with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) amid the political impasse in the country.
According to report, the junta leaders change of mind followed their meeting with a team of Islamic scholars from Nigeria in Niamey.
The scholars, who were acting at the behest of Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, reportedly appealed to the junta to reconsider its position and open to negotiations with ECOWAS.
ECOWAS had imposed sanctions on Niger after the coup, and had warned that it would use force if the junta did not reverse its actions. The junta had rejected a previous offer of dialogue from ECOWAS, but it appears to have been swayed by the intervention of the Nigerian scholars.
In a statement, the leader of the Nigerian scholars, Sheik Bala Lau, said that the junta leaders were “pained” that ECOWAS had not heard their side of the story before imposing sanctions. He said that the junta was now willing to talk to ECOWAS and to work towards a resolution of the crisis.The prime minister of Niger, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, confirmed that the junta had given the green light for talks with ECOWAS. He said that he hoped that the talks would take place in the next few days and that the sanctions would be lifted.
‘’We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted,’’ he said