Nigeria's Tinubu tells UN he seeks to restore democratic order in Niger
UNITED NATIONS : Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said on Tuesday he was seeking to re-establish constitutional order to address political and economic problems in neighboring Niger following a July coup and welcomed any support for the process.
Tinubu is chairman of the main West African bloc ECOWAS, which has been trying to negotiate with the Niger military junta. ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy troops to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts fail.
In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tinubu assailed military coups, which have swept through West Africa in the past few years and are sometimes cheered by citizens.
"The wave crossing parts of Africa does not demonstrate favor towards coups. It is a demand for solutions to perennial problems," Tinubu said.
"Regarding Niger, we are negotiating with the military leaders. As chairman of ECOWAS, I seek to help re-establish democratic governance in a manner that addresses the political and economic challenges confronting that nation, including the violent extremists who seek to foment instability in our region."
The decision by ECOWAS in August to activate a so-called standby force for a possible intervention has raised fears of an escalation that could further destabilize the insurgency-torn Sahel region.
The junta in Niger last month ordered its armed forces to go on highest alert, citing an increased threat of attack.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja, writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, editing by Howard Goller and Stephen Coates)