A street vendor pushes his cart past burned cars in Niamey's streets A street vendor pushes his cart past burned cars in Niamey's streets  (AFP or licensors)

Ecowas to 'implement all necessary measures' to restore order in Niger

The Economic Community of West African States confirms a new summit to discuss the ongoing crisis as Niger's coup leader Abdourahamane Tchiani signs a decree to form a new government.

By Edoardo Giribaldi

West African leaders, part of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), will convene in Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday to discuss an action plan to face the Niger crisis, continuing to "implement all necessary measures to restore constitutional order" in the country, as read in a statement published on Wednesday night on the organization's website.

The Ecowas is a political and economic union comprehending 15 countries aimed at "fostering the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its member states."

A transitional government

Meanwhile, Abdourahamane Tchiani, considered Niger's coup leader, signed a decree to form a transitional government. The names of the 20 ministers were read on national television by Mahamane Roufai Laouali, cited as "Secretary General of the Government," without specifying any further plans or actions.

Niger is the fourth country in the 15-member state bloc to have experienced a coup in the last three years. So far, the defiant junta has rejected most of the attempts of diplomatic overture, ignoring a deadline from the Ecowas to reinstate ousted president Mohamed Bazoum on August 6.

Mediations attempts

Speaking about diplomatic overtures and mediations, on Wednesday, a Nigerian delegation led by the Emir of Kano, Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II, met Tchiani. Acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland had an encounter with the coup leaders earlier this week but was denied access to both Tchiani and Bazoum. A separate delegation comprehending Ecowas, the United Nations and the African Union was barred from coming at all.

West African Bishops' appeals

On Wednesday, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, the Archbishop of Owerri, Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), implored the President of Nigeria and Chair of Ecowas, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, “to dissuade" the organization's Head of States "to resist the temptation of going to war against the coup plotters.”


"We beg them," he added, "to stop the imminent bloodshed that will trail the military intervention."

Laurent Birfuoré Dabiré the Bishop of Dori in Burkina Faso and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Burkina-Niger, sent a message of solidarity and communion to the Bishops of Niger, expressing concern about the military solution, reaffirming the Bishops’ opposition to the possible decision.

Concern about Bazoum's conditions

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern speaking about ousted President Bazoum and his family, who had been detained at the presidential residence without electricity or running water and had no access to fresh food for days, his party reported.

The Secretary-General "once again calls for his immediate, unconditional release and his reinstatement as Head of State," a U.N. spokesperson said on Wednesday, expressing concern about the "deplorable" conditions Bazoum and his family have been forced to live in.

Speaking with the BBC, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated how the country "strongly supports" the work Ecowas is doing in Niger, while the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department, Alexey Zaitsev, expressed the hope that "decisions mutually acceptable can be found in the framework of Ecowas' further diplomatic efforts on Niger."

Sanctions effects

Harsh economic sanctions imposed by the Ecowas are impacting Niger's civilians. The Associated Press reported that some neighborhoods in Niamey, the country's capital, live "in the dark with little access to electricity." 

People are also experiencing frequent power cuts as Niger "gets up to 90% of its power from Nigeria, which has cut off some of the supply."

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10 August 2023, 11:30