ECOWAS Delegation Barred from Entry at Niamey Airport: A Bid for Peace Met with Resistance

ECOWAS Delegation Barred from Entry at Niamey Airport: A Bid for Peace Met with Resistance

In a recent development, a delegation representing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by former Nigerian military leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, faced an unexpected setback upon their arrival at the Niamey airport.

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Despite having informed Niamey about their mission in advance and receiving preliminary approval, the three-member team found themselves denied entry into the country.

The Preceding Situation: Miscommunication and Unexpected Obstacles

The ECOWAS delegation, including figures like President Omar Touray and the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar III, had a noble objective at hand – to engage with junta leaders and facilitate the process of peace negotiation in Niger.

Their arrival at 6:00 p.m. was met by General Moussa Barmou and a team of five.

However, citing security concerns, General Barmou prohibited their entry into the city, thus altering the anticipated course of official meetings.

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A Diplomatic Misstep or Deliberate Embarrassment? Insider Insights

Intriguingly, an insider who spoke with Premium Times framed this situation as an attempt to humiliate the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS.

This perspective raises questions about the motivations behind the denial of entry to the delegation.

The ECOWAS team found themselves confined to an airport room by Niger soldiers, a surprising turn of events given the initial purpose of their visit.

Unforeseen Confinement: A Forced Standstill at the Airport

Photographs that circulated online depicted the ECOWAS delegates seated at a table alongside Niger soldiers, which was widely misconstrued as evidence of official talks.

However, these images only captured the delegation’s enforced containment at the airport.

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Despite the hopes of progress, the ECOWAS team’s attempts to engage with junta leader General Abdourahamane Tchiani were futile after five hours of waiting.

Continued Struggles and Determination: ECOWAS’s Persistence

This encounter marked the third attempt by ECOWAS to establish communication with the junta.

Previous endeavors included a trio, including Nigeria’s NIA head Ahmed Abubakar, dispatched upon learning of President Bazoum’s detention.

However, their mission coincided with the declaration of the coup, rendering their efforts ineffective.

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria subsequently convened an emergency ECOWAS meeting, prompting Chad’s President Mahamat Dérby to visit Niger.

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Yet, Dérby’s proposal of a “soft landing” for the junta was rebuffed, as highlighted through his later sharing of meeting photos on Twitter.

A Roadblock on the Path to Peace: ECOWAS’s Hopes and Challenges

In this complex diplomatic landscape, ECOWAS’s endeavors to foster peace and engage with junta leaders have been met with a series of unexpected challenges.

The delegation’s barred entry at Niamey airport raises questions about the motives behind such actions, leaving both regional and international observers curious about the path forward for Niger and its relationships with its West African neighbors.

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