Nigerian religious leaders, despatched by President Bola Tinubu, are currently in Niger to meet members of the military who seized power last month.
Newly appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine received the delegation at the capital’s Diori Hamani airport, Niger’s ANP press agency reported.
The delegation is made up of Muslim religious leaders, and headed by Sheikh Bala Lau, leader of the Izala Salafist movement in Nigeria.
Coup leader General Abdourahamane Tchiani and junta-appointed Prime Minister Ali Maham Lamine Zeine both met with the delegation, according to Nigerien media.
A source close to the delegation told AFP the group had left on their mediation mission with the consent of Nigerian leader Bola Tinubu, who is currently president of the West African bloc ECOWAS.
“The clerical delegation is currently in Niamey on the mandate of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to douse tension created by the prospect of military intervention by ECOWAS,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The clerics are in Niamey to explain to the junta leaders that Nigeria is not fighting Niger and that the decisions taken on Niger are not Nigeria’s but those of ECOWAS as a regional bloc,” the source said.
Lau had earlier in the week led a delegation of clerics who met with Tinubu in his office in Nigeria’s capital where the mission was discussed, the source said.