Twenty four hours to the commencement of an emergency Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), scheduled to be held in the Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, today August 10, leaders of Muslims across the country and the former Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, visited the Aso Rock Presidential villa to address the issues around the coup in Niger Republic and the threat of military action.
At a meeting yesterday, the Muslim scholars, known as Ulama, sought the permission of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Intervene in the political logjam in Niger Republic through peaceful, diplomatic solutions.
This was even as former Emir Sanusi briefed the President on his meeting with leaders of the coup d’etat, on his return from Niamey, the capital of Niger Republic. He directly engaged with General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the military junta.
Sanusi’s presence in Niamey, where he met with key figures of the military junta, underscores his active role in regional diplomacy and conflict resolution.
The former Emir’s engagement came at a time of heightened political tension and uncertainty in Niger, following the military takeover from the democratically elected President Muhamad Bazoum.
The former Emir told newsmen shortly after the meeting with the President at the Presidential villa: “I came to brief him on the details of my discussions with leaders of Niger. We’ll continue to do our best to bring the two parties together to improve understanding. This is the time public diplomacy, it’s not a matter that we leave to governments. All Nigerians need to be involved to find a solution that works for Africa, a solution that works for Niger, that works for Nigeria and a solution that works for humanity.”
Sanusi said that his engagement was not at the behest of the government.
“No, I was not sent by the government. Government officials were aware I was going, but it was my personal initiative, using my personal contacts to get there and I will continue to do my best. “It is my duty as a leader to do that.”
Also, the Muslim scholars, the Ulamas said that they met with President Tinubu on the issue of Niger Ripublic to find a lasting solution, saying: “we want peace and harmony to reign, not only in Nigeria, but in the sub-Saharan region and in the globe as well.”
Speaking on their behalf by Sheikh Bala Lau, the Ulama insisted on the option of peace and reconciliation, adding that even the Holy Qur’an enjoins reconciliation between neighbors.
“So we want reconciliation. That’s why we are here and our able leader and President accepted the offer that he wants us to intervene and asked us to talk to our brothers in Niger Republic.”
The Islamic scholars are sure that Allah will do it “and we’ll find a lasting solution to this issue. May Allah continue to guide us and may He continue to protect us.”
Also speaking, Sheikh Abdulhaman Ahmad of Ansar-u-deen, said that President Tinubu welcomed their intervention and asked them to talk to the people on the other side, for them to be ready to give concession.
“ECOWAS which he’s the Chairman of, will also be ready. Other than that, the President deplored coup d’etat in the Sahel region and as a democrat himself, he said he will do everything to ensure that there is democracy, justice, freedom and peace in the subregion.
“We, as the Ulama, are also committed to peace and justice and the government will be enabling the Ulama to mediate as it is appropriate. This is why we are here and it is a mission accomplished because the President responded positively, and in turn, he has given us assignment to also mediate to ensure reconciliation between the warring factions in Niger.
“We pray for peace, not only in Nigeria, but also in the subregion and in the world because that is the only thing that can ensure development.”