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Former Kano Emir Sanusi meets Niger coup leaders

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Muhammadu Sanusi and Niger Republic
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Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi Meets with Coup Leaders in Niger Republic Amidst Diplomatic Tensions.

In a surprising turn of events, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, the 14th Emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has held a meeting with the military junta leaders in Niger Republic. The meeting comes after the junta abruptly canceled a gathering involving representatives of the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and a senior US diplomat, escalating diplomatic tensions.

Sanusi’s meeting with the military leadership, which took place in the city of Damagaran, garnered attention due to his prominent role as the Khalifa of the Tijjaniya sect in Nigeria. The Tijjaniya sect boasts a significant following in Niger, and Sanusi’s influence within the religious community positions him as an important figure in the region’s socio-political landscape.

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Sources close to the situation revealed that Sanusi’s trip was undertaken in his personal capacity but was informed by concerns expressed by President Bola Tinubu. Tinubu’s apprehensions revolve around the potential ramifications of the impasse between Niger and Nigeria, particularly in terms of diplomatic relations and the well-being of citizens in both nations.

The failed attempts by a delegation dispatched by ECOWAS to engage with the military rulers further exacerbated the tension. The junta leadership declined to meet with the delegation, raising doubts about the efficacy of diplomatic efforts to resolve the ongoing crisis.

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Sanusi’s meeting with the junta leaders and the accompanying presence of the Sultan of Damagaran are seen as a potential step towards opening channels of negotiation. It remains to be seen whether this diplomatic initiative will yield fruitful results in mitigating the ongoing crisis.

The timing of this meeting coincides with the scheduled gathering of ECOWAS leaders in Abuja. President Bola Tinubu, who chairs ECOWAS, had set a meeting for the day after the expiration of the 7-day ultimatum issued by the regional bloc for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger. The ultimatum was met with criticism and rejection, particularly within Nigeria.

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As the situation continues to evolve, regional leaders are watching closely to determine the next steps in addressing the diplomatic impasse. The involvement of Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, renowned for his economic acumen and religious leadership, adds a unique dimension to the ongoing negotiations between the junta leaders and representatives of ECOWAS.

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