The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, has affirmed that Nigeria will persist in engaging with the government of Niger to secure the release of the deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum. In August, former Nigerian Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), revealed that Bazoum had conveyed the challenges he faced since being detained by the military junta led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani during a delegation meeting with the Economic Community of West African States.
Despite Bazoum’s prolonged detention since the military junta’s actions in July, Tuggar emphasized that Nigeria, holding a crucial role in the ECOWAS bloc, will continue to advocate for Bazoum’s freedom.
Speaking to Channels Television on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Conference in Dubai, the minister said on Saturday that Nigeria was not under any pressure to act against the Niger Republic.
“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. 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 open 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 said.
According to ChannelsTV, the minister noted that while many have incorrectly asserted that Nigeria was under the control of external forces, he stated that this was not the case.
He claimed that the country’s track record on the continent proves the contrary.
“There is no conflict between Nigeria and Niger. We, the people of Nigeria and Niger, are brothers. We are not against them, and don’t let anybody fool you into thinking that Nigeria is being dictated to by some other country what to do.
“That’s pure propaganda. Those are lies. Everybody knows Nigeria’s track record when it comes to standing for what is right—the fight for freedom in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique. We are always there. We remain consistent. We see what we’re doing also about Palestine and what is happening in Gaza. This is exactly what we’re also saying about the situation in Niger,” he added.