Nigeria’s Tinubu Seeks Swift Niger Talks Solution to Avoid Force

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said a swift, peaceful restoration of democratic order in neighboring Niger is crucial and that he is pushing back against pressure to apply military force.

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“Even as of this morning, I have been inundated with phone calls on the readiness of countries with their military force and contributions,” Tinubu, who is also the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, said Thursday in the capital, Abuja. “I am the one holding back Ecowas.”

He spoke after a briefing by a team of Islamic mediators who had been in Niger twice to hold talks with the leaders of a July 26 coup.

The organization has prioritized diplomacy as it vows to overturn the coup, saying it stands ready to use force if talks fail. Other partners — who are outside of Ecowas’ control — are ready to act, Tinubu said.

“If you take Ecowas aside, other people will react,” he said. “I am the one holding those sides back.”

Junta leader Abdourahamane Tiani has proposed a return to democracy within three years, but the bloc has rejected any prolonged transition.

The junta is open to deepening dialog with Ecowas and are taking more steps to forestall armed conflict, the Islamic mediators told Tinubu.

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