UN, US Hail Nigerian Leader For Defending Democracy

By Timothy Choji, Abuja 

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The United States Vice President, Kamala Harris, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have expressed strong support for Nigeria’s efforts toward the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.

The two leaders, in separate telephone conversations with President Bola Tinubu on Thursday night, qalso commended the Nigerian President, who is also the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for spearheading the peace moves.

On Wednesday, July 26, 2023, some soldiers from the Presidential Guard had moved to depose President Mohamed Bazoum.

President Tinubu had quickly rejected the threat to democracy in that country, sending a strong delegation to talk with all the parties to restore constitutional order in Niger.

In her telephone conversation with President Tinubu, at the instance of the US authorities, Harris praised the reform initiatives of the Nigerian  Government, urging the country to continue in that direction.

Support
While pledging to support democracy in Africa including the West African sub-region, Harris also said; “the U.S. would assist Nigeria in the battle against terrorism.”

The US Vice President spoke on the need for Africa, including Nigeria to embrace energy transitions.

In his response, President Tinubu thanked Harris for the telephone call and her words of encouragement on the efforts taken so far on the economy, but said that “the developments in the Niger Republic dampen spirits.”

He said ECOWAS under his watch would do all that is necessary to restore democracy in Niger while counting on the support of the US.

In Nigeria, President Tinubu craved for more private-sector investment, urging the US to lead the way in this regard.

He said; “We had to get rid of the fuel subsidy that is laden with fraud with a few people appropriating the wealth of the country to themselves. 

“We would need the US to help push for investments that will help alleviate the effects of subsidy removal in Nigeria. We need foreign direct investment to come in. 

“We have abundant gas resources in the country and not being able to fund gas pipelines to Europe and compete in that gas market is a handicap.” 

Climate Change 
On climate change, the President said Nigeria would stay focused on alternate energy but he pleaded for the developed nations to understand the situation in developing countries including Africa.

The two leaders also spoke about strengthening relations between their two countries and on their shared work on global and regional issues.

Other matters that featured in the discussions that lasted about 40 minutes are defending democracy in West Africa and The Sahel and digital inclusion.

UN Scribe
Speaking with the UN Secretary-General Guterres, President Tinubu said; “he was doing everything possible to resolve the impasse in Niger.”

While expressing the hope that the situation in Niger could still be reversed for the better, he said; “ECOWAS would require the UN’s support for restoring democracy and building institutions in that country.”

Guterres had pledged the commitment of the UN to Tinubu’s peace efforts in Niger.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere