The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the military council has announced the removal of diplomatic immunity from the French Ambassador in Niamey, following the expiry of a 48-hour deadline for his departure from the country. As per the statement issued by the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, the French Ambassador “no longer enjoys diplomatic immunity, and his diplomatic identity card and visas issued to him and his family have been revoked.” Instructions have been given to the Nigerian police to initiate deportation procedures.
Days ago, the Nigerien military council threatened to use force if the French Ambassador did not leave the country immediately. Addressing the Ambassador, the council’s spokesperson questioned, “Who are you to refuse to leave?” Adding, “Our people must be ready not to sleep in the coming days.” Thousands of protesters also gathered on Sunday near the largest French military base in Niger’s capital, Niamey, chanting anti-French presence slogans.
In response, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the French Ambassador to Niger will remain in place despite pressure from leaders of the recent coup in the country. During an address to diplomats, Macron acknowledged the challenges faced by French diplomats in certain countries recently, praising the ambassador’s commitment to his duty in Niger and emphasizing that diplomacy often involves risks.
The situation highlights the tensions between the Nigerien military council and France, while the fate of the French Ambassador in Niger remains uncertain amid diplomatic and political upheaval.