By Our Correspondent
United States Vice President Kamala Harris and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed strong support for Nigeria’s efforts toward the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
They offered their support in separate telephone conversations with President Bola Tinubu on Thursday evening in Abuja, according to a statement by President’s spokesperson, Dele Alake on Friday.
The US Vice President Harris also confirmed the conversation with the Nigeria leader in a post on Twitter on Friday.
Today, I spoke with President Tinubu of Nigeria about the strong ties between the Nigerian and American people and our shared work on global and regional issues—from defending democracy in West Africa and the Sahel to promoting digital inclusion and economic growth.
According to the Presidency statement, the two leaders also commended Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for spearheading the peace moves.
On Wednesday, some soldiers from the Presidential Guard moved to depose President Mohamed Bazoum.
President Tinubu quickly rejected the threat to democracy in that country, sending a strong delegation to talk with all the parties with a view to restoring constitutional order in Niger.
In her telephone conversation with President Tinubu, at the instance of the US authorities, Harris was said to have praised the reform initiatives of the Federal Government, urging the country to continue in that direction.
Alake stated that 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.
He said that 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 added 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 more private-sector investment, urging the US to lead the way in this regard.
“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,” he said.
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 on 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 Guterres, Alake disclosed that 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 earlier pledged the commitment of the UN to Tinubu’s peace efforts in Niger.