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Uncertainty: Niger Junta Denies Expelling Nigerian Ambassador

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Uncertainty has continued to trail development in Niger Republic follow the coup d’etat that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum of the Sahel state as the fate of Mohamed Usman, Nigerian ambassador to the country remains confusing.

News report on Friday had indicated that Niger’s foreign affairs ministry released a statement, ordering the expulsion of Amb. Usman alongside some Western diplomats.

The statement said: “In reaction to Nigerian Ambassador Mohamed Usman’s refusal to reply to an invitation by the ministry for a discussion on Friday August 25 at 11.30 a.m., and due to other actions of the Nigerian government contrary to Niger’s interests, the ministry is giving 48 hours to Mr. Mohamed Usman’s to leave the Nigerien territory.”

Same reason was also reportedly given for the expulsion of the German Ambassador to Niger.

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“In reaction to German Ambassador Olivier Schnakenberg’s refusal to reply to an invitation by the ministry for a discussion on Friday August 25 at 11.00 a.m., and due to other actions of the German government contrary to Niger’s interests, the ministry is giving 48 hours to Mr. Olivier Schnakenberg’s to leave the Nigerien territory,” it said in a separate statement.

Earlier, Niger’s military administration also gave the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, 48 hours to leave the country.

But in yet another statement, the foreign affairs ministry denied the first memo, saying that “Contrary to the information deliberately distilled on social networks which report a decision by the Nigerien authorities ordering the Ambassadors of Germany, Nigeria and the United States of America to leave Nigerien territory within 48 hours, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigeriens Abroad specifies that the said information is false and that only the Ambassador of France in Niger is declared persona non grata.”

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“Also, the Ministry reminds those who are agitated and still doubt the expression of its sovereign will, that Niger does not need an authorization or an interpretation of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to exercise its prerogatives and have Ambassador Sylvain ITTE leave, after this 48-hour period ubur D Done in Niamey on August 25.”

A source in the Nigerian embassy in Niger told Daily Trust that the junta was not aware of the expulsion of Usman.

The source said the military regime that ousted the government of President Mohamed Bazoum exactly a month ago was embarrassed by the reports.

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This was said to have made the foreign affairs ministry issue a counter statement, an indication that there is possible lack of coordination on the part of the current rulers of the country.

The Street Reporters Newspaper recalls that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been putting pressure on the ruling junta in Niger Republic to restore constitutional order in the country and reinstate the overthrown President of the West African country.

The current leadership in the country had proposed a three-year transition plan announced by the country’s military junta but rejected by the ECOWAS.

The west African subregional body, ECOWAS, has, however, continued to threaten to use force to restore the government of deposed President Bazoum amid defiance by the military junta which has already constituted a government in the country.

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