Calls for diplomatic solutions, Senate leaders to meet Tinubu
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, on Saturday, took contrary positions on plans by leaders of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to intervene militarily or otherwise in Niger Republic, following a recent coup d’état and the ouster of a democratically-elected administration of Mohamed Bazoum.
Tinubu, had in a letter read to lawmakers at the commencement of Friday’s plenary by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, emphasized on the relevance of the issue.
At Saturday’s extraordinary sitting to confirm ministerial nominees, the Senate had planned to approve Tinubu’s request for “the implementation of the resolutions of ECOWAS on the political situation in Niger Republic”.
The Senate, sensing a possible uproar, went into a closed door for about two hours, where President Tinubu’s request was extensively discussed.
Announcing the outcome of the closed door meeting, the Senate condemned the military coup d’état in the West African country.
The Senate urged President Tinubu and ECOWAS leaders to explore more diplomatic solutions, while calling on ECOWAS Parliament to immediately take a position on the issue.
Akpabio said: “The Senate commends President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and other Heads of States and Governments of the ECOWAS for their prompt response and the position taken on the unfortunate development in Niger Republic.
“The Senate recognises the fact that President Tinubu by virtue of his correspondence has not asked for the approval of this Senate to go to war as being erroneously suggested in some quarters.
“Rather the President and Commander in chief had expressed and I quote, He ‘wished to respectively solicit the support of the National assembly in the successful implementation of the ECOWSS resolutions as outlined in the said communication’.
“The leadership of the senate is mandated to with the President on behalf of the Senate to more explore more diplomatic solutions.
“The Senate calls on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as chairman of ECOWAS to further encourage other leaders of ECOWAS to strengthen the political and diplomatic options and other means with which to resolve the political impasse in Niger Republic.
“The National Assembly calls on the ECOWAS leadership under President Tinubu to resolve the political situation in Niger and return the country to democratic governance in the nearest future.
“The leadership of the Senate is mandated to further engage the President and Commander in Chief on behalf of the Senate and the National Assembly on how best to resolve the issue in view of the hitherto existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Finally, the Senate called on the ECOWAS Parliament to rise to the occasion by condemning this and also taking solutions to resolve this impasse as soon as possible.”
President Tinubu, had in the letter read on Friday, noted: “Following the unfortunate political situation in Niger Republic culminating in the overthrow of its President, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup in its entirety and resolved to seek the return of the democratically elected government.”