ECOWAS, the regional bloc of West African countries currently led by Nigerian president Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has given the coup leaders in Niger Republic a deadline of one week to restore the democratically elected government or face military intervention.
The ECOWAS statement, read by its Commission chairperson Omar Touray at an emergency summit in Abuja on Sunday, said that if the coup plotters do not comply with the demands within one week, “all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger such measures may include the use of force” will be taken.
The summit was convened in response to the coup attempt in Niger on Wednesday, which saw President Mohammed Bazoum and his family and officials detained by rebel soldiers.
The ECOWAS statement also said that all ECOWAS chiefs of defence staff will meet immediately to hold accountable those responsible for violence and terror against Nigeriens and their property.
The statement reaffirmed that Bazoum is the legitimate elected president and head of state of Niger, as recognized by ECOWAS, AU and the international community.
It strongly condemned the coup attempt and the illegal detention of Bazoum and his family and officials, and called for their immediate release and reinstatement.
It also rejected any forced resignation from Bazoum, saying that it would not accept it as valid.
It warned that the coup leaders are solely and fully responsible for the safety and security of Bazoum and his family and officials.
It appointed a special representative to deliver the ECOWAS demands to the rebel forces.
It also denounced foreign governments and private military contractors supporting the coup, without naming them.
It imposed immediate sanctions on Niger while waiting for the deadline to expire.
These sanctions include:
- Closing air and land borders between ECOWAS Member States and Niger and imposing a no-fly zone over Niger
- Suspending all commercial and financial transactions between Member States and Niger, including energy deals
- Freezing assets of Niger in ECOWAS central banks as well as assets of all other public enterprises and institutions in Niger
- Banning travel for all soldiers involved in the coup and freezing their accounts
- Freezing accounts of their family members and civilians who collaborate with any institutions and government established by the coup leaders