General Abdourahamane Tchiani, leader of the Niger junta, has criticized sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), saying they were unjustified.
Speaking in a televised broadcast on Saturday night, Tchiani demanded the restoration of electricity cut off by the Federal Government as part of the embargoes slammed on the coupists following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
He said the regional bloc’s economic sanctions were unnecessary, adding that they were aimed at punishing the “good people” of Niger.
According to him, children and other patients were dying in hospitals because of a lack of electricity.
He said border closures made access to food, drugs, and other essentials very difficult.
In his 12-minute speech, Tchiani claimed ECOWAS was “getting ready to attack Niger by setting up an occupying army in collaboration with a foreign army.
“I reaffirm here that our ambition is not to confiscate power. I also reaffirm our readiness to engage in any dialogue, as long as it takes into account the orientations desired by the proud and resilient people of Niger,” he added.
He proposed a three-year transition to civilian rule after meeting a delegation of West African leaders and warned that any attack on the country would “not be a walk in the park” for those involved.
General Abdourahmane Tchiani gave no details on the planned transition of power, saying only that the principles for the move would be decided within 30 days at a dialogue to be hosted by the ruling military council.
Written by: Elizabeth David