President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire says the decision by the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) to deploy troops to the Niger Republic was taken collectively by member states.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting in Abuja, Outarra described the detention of the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum by the military junta in Niger as “an act of terrorism”.
“We had a very good summit. We thank President Tinubu for having us, for his hospitality and for the people of Nigeria,” he said.
“As you’re aware, this is the second summit in 10 days that we have organised on Niger and this is a critical problem we have to solve.
“As you’re aware, ECOWAS has taken many decisions in the past, legal and factual about the coup d’etat and the community has always condemned coup d’etat and coup d’etat have happened in many countries in the sub-region.
“ECOWAS has intervened in the past in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and recently in Gambia, Guinea Bissau and today we have a similar situation in Niger. I would like to say that ECOWAS cannot accept this. This is not a matter of Nigeria against Niger, not at all.
“We have sent a delegation, high personalities like former president Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, former governor of CBN Sanusi, my friend and many other personalities in this important country, to talk to the people of Niger.
“But they are keeping President Bazoum as a hostage. I personally consider this as a terrorist act and we cannot let this continue. We have to act.
“ECOWAS is nearly 400 million people, 240 million in Nigeria, 140 million in the West African monetary union. So this is 400 million people. If we do not have democracy, do you think that our countries will be able to move ahead? This coup d’etat is not acceptable.”
Also speaking with reporters, Macky Sall, Senegalese president, said he was in support of the decision taken by ECOWAS.
“I support the action that has been proposed by ECOWAS that we do not accept this coup to stand and that we make every effort to make sure that constitutional order returns to Niger,” Sall said.
“If we had made mistakes in the past, we should try to correct them now. There is always a time to get started. I think it was a mistake not to have taken action previously, but now that we are together on this, we should take action to make sure that it does not continue.”