Nigeria still negotiating release of Bazoum from Niger junta’s custody, says Tuggar
Yusuf Tuggar, minister of foreign affairs, says Nigeria will continue to engage with the military government of the Niger Republic to ensure the release of the country’s deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.
According to Channels Television, the minister spoke on the sideline of the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
After members of the presidential guard seized power in the Niger Republic in July, the coup plotters detained Bazoum and denied him access to members of his family.
Ministries next to the palace were also blocked off while members of staff inside the palace were refused entry into their offices.
In reaction, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) presided over by President Bola Tinubu, its chairman, in Abuja, resolved to impose several sanctions on Niger over the military coup.
The organisation affirmed its recognition of Bazoum as the legitimate president of the Niger Republic.
The authority also condemned the detention of Bazoum, calling for his immediate release and reinstatement.
The foreign affairs minister said Nigeria will not relent in pressing for the release of Bazoum.
“And we have made it clear, we spelt it out. We are asking them to release President Bazoum so that he will be allowed to leave Niger,” Tuggar said.
“He will no longer be in custody. He will go to a third country that is mutually agreed upon. And then we start talking about the removal of sanctions.
“So, let no picture be painted that Nigeria is the one being difficult or that ECOWAS – because it was an ECOWAS decision – is being difficult.
“We continue to talk with them; to engage and our doors will continue to be opened to those in charge in Niger as of now.
“You know, the opportunity is there. We are always ready, willing, and able to listen to them and the ball is in their court.”
The minister also said Nigeria is not acting in the interest of external parties, noting that the country would remain consistent in standing for what is right.