James Heappey, the United Kingdom’s minister of state for the armed forces, has applauded the efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore democratic rule in Niger Republic.
Heappey spoke after a meeting with the ministers of defence and military chiefs in Nigeria to discuss the political situation in Niger.
The UK minister met with Christopher Musa, chief of defence staff; Taoreed Lagbaja, chief of army staff; Abubakar Badaru, minister of defence; and Bello Matawalle, minister of state for defence.Heappey also met with Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, and assured that the UK would support the organisation to ensure that constitutional order returns to Niger.
“The UK supports ECOWAS is calling for the peaceful restoration of constitutional order and democracy in Niger and we’ll work with both ECOWAS and our partners across West Africa to support them in that aim,” Heappey said.
He added that the UK recognised Nigeria’s diplomatic mediation efforts to peacefully restore democracy in its northern neighbour.
“The UK and Nigerian armed forces have a longstanding partnership through which we continue to tackle violent extremism and other security threats in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
“We stand with ECOWAS in condemnation of the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and members of the government, as well as the unacceptable conditions under which they are being held, and call for their immediate release.”
Abdulsalami Abubakar, former head of state, had assured that diplomatic interventions to restore constitutional order in Niger will succeed. After leading an ECOWAS delegation to the unstable West African country, Abdulsalami said discussions with Niger’s military junta had been very fruitful, expressing hope that positive actions will soon come out of it.
The junta had agreed to explore diplomatic dialogue after meeting with Nigeria’s intervention team comprising Islamic scholars.
Source : The Sun