A delegation of distinguished Islamic scholars from Nigeria, led by Sheik Bala Lau, National Chairman of Jamatul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, engaged in a productive dialogue with General Abdourahmane Tchiani, leader of the recent coup in Niger.
The two parties convened in the capital city of Niamey, where they discussed various aspects of the ongoing political crisis and its potential resolution.
The intervention team, representing a diverse array of Islamic sects within Nigeria, arrived at the invitation of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who also chairs the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government. The scholars, acting on behalf of President Tinubu, expressed their firm belief in resolving the political impasse through peaceful dialogue rather than resorting to conflict.
Sheik Bala Lau emphasized the historical and fraternal ties between Nigeria and Niger, characterizing them as neighboring nations that should collaborate amicably in addressing issues of mutual concern. General Tchiani reciprocated the scholars’ sentiments, acknowledging the necessity of diplomacy and peace in resolving the ongoing crisis.
General Tchiani acknowledged that the coup leaders felt unheard due to ECOWAS leaders’ ultimatum, which was issued without considering their perspective. He explained that the coup was carried out with the intention of preemptively countering a perceived threat that could have affected both Niger and Nigeria.
Despite initial misgivings stemming from the ECOWAS ultimatum, General Tchiani warmly welcomed the delegation’s intervention and expressed a willingness to engage in constructive discussions. Sheik Ahmad Abdulrahman, Chief Missioner of Ansarudeen Society of Nigeria and a member of the intervention team, affirmed that the discussions were fruitful, contrary to some media reports.
The scholars conveyed their commitment to advocating for peace and rejecting the notion of war as a solution. They emphasized that war only brings negative consequences and urged General Tchiani and other military leaders involved in the coup to consider the path of peace for the sake of stability and prosperity in both nations.
The delegation included a notable roster of Islamic scholars such as Sheik Kabiru Gombe, Secretary of Jamatul Izalatul Bida Waikamatul Sunnah; Sheik Yakubu Musa Hassan Katsina, Director Daawah of JIBWIS; Sheik Ibrahim Dahiru Bauchi, Representative of Sheik Ibrahim Bauchi; and Dr. Khalid Aliya, Secretary-General of Jammatul Nasril Islam, among others.
After the successful meeting, the scholars intend to report back to President Bola Tinubu, stressing the significance of pursuing peaceful resolution over conflict. This initiative showcases the commitment of influential Islamic leaders to playing a constructive role in fostering stability and dialogue in the region.
As the crisis continues to unfold, the proactive engagement of these scholars underscores the potential of dialogue to pave the way for a peaceful and inclusive solution, ultimately benefitting the people of both Niger and Nigeria.