The new Nigerien authorities have announced their intentions to prosecute President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason.
The announcement was made over the weekend by the government in Niamey.
The military junta says it has enough evidence to show that the recently ousted Head of State, now held captive with his family, conspired against the interests of the Republic.
The announcement comes as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had ordered the ‘activation’ and ‘deployment’ of its standby forces in preparation for military intervention.
During the weekend, a delegation of religious leaders from Nigeria, led by the national leader of the Jama’a tul Izalatil Bid’ah wa Iqamatis Sunnah, Sheikh Bala Lau, arrived last Saturday in Niamey to meet the military junta, as part of diplomatic efforts for a return to constitutional order.
At the end of the meeting, the junta leaders said they were open to resolving the crisis through diplomatic channels.
In a press release, Sheikh Bala Lau, the leader of Izala, a Salafist-inspired Islamic movement, at the head of the mediation mission, revealed that General Abdourahamane Tiani declared “that his door was open to exploring the path of diplomacy and peace in order to resolve the crisis”, reported local media.
The general also apologised for not having “given the necessary attention to the team sent by President Tinubu and led by the former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar”.
According to the putschists, this coup d’etat is a response to an imminent threat that would have affected not only the Republic of Niger but also Nigeria.
On July 26, soldiers overthrew President Bazoum. He and his collaborators risk being prosecuted for high treason and attacking State Security.
It is unclear how ECOWAS is going to react to this new development, given that the threats of an intervention can only precipitate the junta to take desperate actions that might imperil the well-being of President Bazoum.
Furthermore, there were protests in Nigeria’s Northern city of Kano against any potential military intervention, indicating that civilians were not happy with the prospect of war with their neighbours.