Nigerian Air Force Aircraft Departs Abuja For Paris Amid Niger Political Crisis | #NwokeukwuMascot

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Nigerian Air Force aircraft departed Abuja on Sunday afternoon for Paris, France. 

The Dassault Falcon 7X, with registration number 5N-FGU, departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 4.18 pm due to a delay as its Scheduled Time of Departure (STD) was 3 pm.

The reason for the delay could not be established at the time of filing this report. However, SaharaReporters learnt that the aircraft is expected to touch down at Paris-Le Bourget Airport by 10.42 pm. 

The aircraft landed in Abuja at 6 pm from Gombe on Saturday and in the last six days, it has been to Lagos, Abuja Maiduguri, Kano and Gombe. 

It is also not clear why the Nigerian Air Force aircraft departed for Paris or the identities of the people on board; however, SaharaReporters learnt that it could be connected to the political crisis in the Republic of Niger following the July 26 coup d'etat that ousted its democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Many Nigerians have urged the Nigerian government not to be involved in any military action in Niger considering its closeness to Nigeria. There are insinuations that the United States of America and France are pushing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders, including Nigerian President, Tinubu towards the path of military intervention if ongoing dialogue fails. 

The ECOWAS has enacted sanctions against Niger and asked that the ousted president should be reinstated but the military junta in the country has so far called the bluff of the regional bloc, chaired by Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu. 

On Friday, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, told journalists that the West African bloc was determined to ensure that coups would not become a habit in the region. 

Touray, therefore, called on the Niger junta to reconsider its stance, saying, “Even now, it is not too late for the military to reconsider its action and listen to the voice of reason as the regional leaders will not condone a coup d’etat.

“The real issue is the determination of the community to halt the spiral of coup d’etat in the region.”

According to Touray, military intervention is not a declaration of war or an “invasion” of Niger. 

According to him, such intervention would be a legitimate force allowed under ECOWAS statutes agreed by members.

Tinubu, on Thursday, said he was managing a serious situation on the coup d'etat in the Niger Republic as he was faced with the challenge of holding back the leadership of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and those who are outside ECOWAS control from escalating the political problem in Niger. 

President Tinubu, who said this in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, enjoined a delegation of Islamic scholars (Ulamas), who were previously engaged in discussions to facilitate the return of constitutional power to the ousted Bazoum, to expedite progress in their ongoing dialogue with the Niger military junta.

“I am managing a very serious situation. If you take ECOWAS aside, other people will react, those who are outside of our control. I am the one holding those sides back. I am the one holding back ECOWAS.

‘’Even as at this morning, I have been inundated with phone calls on the readiness of countries with their military force and contributions. However, I told them to wait. I am meeting with the Ulamas and I will get back to you,” the Nigerian President said.

Tinubu’s statement came shortly after the Islamic clerics under the aegis of Ulama, briefed him on their meetings with the junta in Niger. 

Tinubu on Thursday sent them back to Niamey, Niger's capital to continue their dialogue with the coup leaders to resolve the political crisis in the country.

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