The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, has rejected the three-year transition plan proposed by Niger Republic’s military junta.

It will be recalled that the coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had at a meeting with ECOWAS delegation, led by General Abadulsalami Abubakar, retd, in Niamey on Saturday, promised the military government would return Niger Republic to democracy in three years.

Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, told BBC in an interview, yesterday, that the proposal was unacceptable to ECOWAS, setting the ground for a military operation.

Meanwhile, thousands of Nigeriens flooded the streets yesterday declaring support for the military junta.

Their demonstration came against the backdrop of ECOWAS’ insistence on invading the country to rout out coupists should diplomacy fail to restore ousted President Mohamed Bazoum to power.

The rally came on a day an official of the government in Niger said talks between the ECOWAS delegation, led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, retd and the junta achieved very little result.

The official also noted that already, there are deep divisions within the presidential guard, which ousted President Bazoum, saying should ECOWAS launch an attack on Niger Republic, the majority of soldiers in the presidential complex would flee.

This is even as Pope Francis yesterday canvassed a diplomatic solution to the political crisis.

The demonstrators chanted slogans hostile to former colonial power, France and especially ECOWAS, which is considering a potential military operation to reinstate elected President Mohamed Bazoum if ongoing negotiations with coup leaders fail.

The Sahel state’s new military leaders have officially banned demonstrations but in practice, those in support of the coup are allowed to go ahead.

The demonstrators waved placards, saying “stop the military intervention” and “No, to sanctions”, in reference to the financial and trade restrictions imposed by ECOWAS, four days after the coup on July 26.

Yesterday’s pro-coup rally was accompanied by musicians praising the new military regime, according to AFP.

The latest in a string of pro-coup rallies came a day after the new military ruler in Niamey warned that an attack on Niger would not be a “walk in the park.”

Vanguard/Simeon Ugbodovon

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