ABUJA- In a swift response to military coup in Niger Republic, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has enforced a no-flight zone over the country.
In addition to the no-flight zone, the regional body has agreed immediate financial sanctions over the coup.
The decision was announced today by the ECOWAS, at an urgent meeting following the increasing tension stirred by the military actors who are attempting to take over in Niger.
This significant move which includes air and land border closure, is seen as a crucial reaction to the recent ascendancy of the junta, which has stirred significant unrest in the country and poses a threat to political stability within the region.
The ECOWAS leadership believes that the imposition of a no-flight zone will help curb the junta’s influence and hinder any potential allies from providing aerial support, even as leaders of the coup fear that the regional body could stage an imminent military intervention in the capital of the Sahel country.
In addition to the no-flight zone, the regional body has agreed on immediate financial sanctions over the coup, and has given the junta a week to cede power, while noting that a use of force has not been ruled out.
ECOWAS also insisted that President Mohamed Bazoum remains recognized as president of Niger, and called upon member states and the international community to uphold and respect these decision, in an effort to help restore peace and stability in the republic.
Speaking at the emergency meeting which he presided over today, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who serves as Chairman of the ECOWAS denounced the coup by military leaders in Niger Republic, saying Africa has come of age.
Briefing leaders of the regional bloc, Tinubu registered the displeasure of ECOWAS at the coup d’état in the Niger Republic.
“Africa has come of age, we reject coup and interruption to constitutional order,” the Nigerian leader said amid applause.
“As African leaders, it is our sheer responsibility to foster stability and progress, placing the wellbeing of our people at the forefront of our endeavours.
“Working together towards their prosperity and happiness must always constantly be our goal and consistently, we will stand with our people in freedom and our commitment to the rule of law and not the barrel of gun.”
Late Wednesday, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the chief of Niger’s powerful presidential guard took power after a military coup. The action has since been condemned by the United Nations, African Union, the European Union, the United States among other world and regional leaders.
Tchiani, 59, has shunned the limelight despite a stellar military career which saw him lead the elite 700-member unit from 2011 up until now.
On Friday, Tchiani declared himself leader after staging a takeover that began on Wednesday when his presidential guards seized President Mohamed Bazoum and sequestered him in the presidential palace.