U.S., UN back Nigeria’s Tinubu to restore democracy

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres have backed Nigeria’s efforts toward restoring constitutional order in the Niger Republic. President Bola Tinubu is taking the lead as the ECOWAS leader.

This is contained in a statement by Dele Alake, the presidential spokesman.

The presidency said the support was made in separate telephone conversations with Mr Tinubu on Thursday in Abuja. According to the statement, the two leaders also commended Mr Tinubu for spearheading the peace moves.

On Wednesday, some Nigerien soldiers from the presidential guards moved to depose President Mohamed Bazoum.

Mr Tinubu quickly rejected the coup attempt and detention of Mr Bazoum and sent a strong delegation to talk with all the parties about restoring constitutional order in the country.

In her conversation with Mr Tinubu, Ms Harris praised the reform initiatives of Nigeria, urging the country to continue in that direction. While pledging to support democracy in Africa, including the West African sub-region, Ms Harris said the U.S. would assist Nigeria in fighting terrorism.

The American vice-president also spoke on the need for Africa, including Nigeria, to embrace energy transitions. 

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

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

Mr Tinubu craved more private-sector investment in Nigeria, urging the U.S. to lead the way.

“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 U.S. to help push for investments that will help alleviate the effects of subsidy removal in Nigeria. We need foreign direct investment to come in,” stated the Nigerian leader.

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

On climate change, the president said Nigeria would stay focused on alternate energy but called for the understanding of the developed nations on the situation in developing countries, including Africa.

Mr Tinubu and Ms Harris also spoke about strengthening relations between their countries and their shared work on global and regional issues.

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

Speaking with the UN secretary general, Mr 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, the Nigerian president said ECOWAS would require the UN’s support for restoring democracy and building institutions in that country.

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


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