General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the coup plotters in the Niger Republic, has set a three-year timeline for the military to transfer power to a civilian government. This announcement was made during a televised address on Saturday night.
Tchiani’s statement came after a meeting with a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd).
During his broadcast, Tchiani revealed that his junta would establish a committee within a month to study and draft a new constitution for the country. While emphasizing Niger’s reluctance for war, the General also asserted the nation’s readiness to defend itself if the situation demands, while keeping the door open for negotiations.
As of now, ECOWAS has yet to officially respond to Tchiani’s speech. General Abdulsalami is anticipated to brief the regional bloc on the outcomes of the meeting.
Meanwhile, Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, assured that the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, would be kept safe and unharmed. This assurance comes in light of President Bola Tinubu’s warning about potential “grave consequences” if Bazoum’s health deteriorates while under house arrest.
Lamine Zeine affirmed that no harm would befall Bazoum, highlighting Niger’s nonviolent traditions. The new ruling authorities in Niger have displayed limited flexibility and cautioned against any “illegal aggression”.
Furthermore, central Niamey witnessed a surge of volunteers who responded to a call to register as civilian auxiliaries, indicating their willingness to support the army if necessary.
These developments coincide with the ECOWAS military chiefs’ two-day meeting in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, during which they indicated the regional bloc’s readiness to intervene in Niger whenever the directive is given.