The former Emir of Kano and spiritual leader (Khalifah) of the Tijaniyah Islamic movement in Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, says he used his personal connections to arrange and meet with the head of the Nigerien military junta, Abdourahamane Tchiani.
“Interventions are ongoing,” Mr Sanusi said.
Mr Sanusi, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, met on Wednesday with Mr Tchiani in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
Mr Tchiani is the president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) following the illegal overthrow of the government of President Mohamed Bazoum. The coup leader had rebuffed efforts by the U.S., AU, ECOWAS and other Western allies to meet with him. Mr Tchiani also refused to see the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III.
Speaking with State House Correspondents, Mr Sanusi said his mission was a private one not known to the government.
“I was not sent by the government. Government officials were aware I was going, but it was my personal initiative, using my personal contacts to get there, and I will continue to do my best,” Mr Sanusi told the journalists after meeting with President Bola Tinubu. “It is my duty as a leader to do that.”
Mr Tinubu had on Tuesday declared that all options remained open to find an amicable resolution to the Niger political crisis.
Mr Sanusi visited the president on the Niger Republic issue. He spoke with Mr Tchiani on Wednesday in Niamey in collaboration with the emir of Damagaram.
“I came to brief him on the details of my discussions with leaders of Niger. We’ll continue to do our best to bring the two parties together to improve understanding,” explained the deposed Kano emir. “This is the time for public diplomacy. It’s not a matter that we leave to governments.”
Mr Sanusi added, “All Nigerians, all Nigeriens need to be involved to find a solution that works for Africa, a solution that works for Niger, that works for Nigeria and a solution that works for humanity.”