Exactly six weeks after the coup in Niger, FRANCE 24 interviewed Abdel-Fatau Musah, the West African bloc ECOWAS’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. He insisted that ECOWAS was not discussing any kind of transition with the junta in Niamey and that instead the bloc continued to demand the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and the immediate restoration of constitutional order.
Musah dismissed reports that ECOWAS chair Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian president, had floated the idea of a nine-month transition to civilian rule in Niger, in the wake of the July 26 coup.
“The position of ECOWAS remains the same: the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and the immediate restoration of constitutional order,” he told FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman.
Musah added: “We are not going to repeat the experiences of Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, where ECOWAS found itself in a trade-off with the military regimes, haggling over the duration and as we speak, some of them are still thinking of unilaterally extending the transitions in their conditions. We are not going to use what happened in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso as a template for Niger. We are drawing a line in the sand.”
No ‘calendar date’ on an intervention
Musah went on to say that ECOWAS has not put “a calendar date” on a military intervention and was giving priority to mediation and sanctions in order to bring the junta to the negotiating table. However, he added, “we are not going to allow an endless wait.”