Canada says it will reconsider its
relations with Niger's government after the controversial referendum that
extended embattled President Mamadou Tandja's term limits.
concern that the recent referendum contravenes the provisions of Niger's 1999
constitution and undermines the country's democratic progress.
supporters say Canada should ascertain the facts before jumping to conclusions.
the local and the international community have condemned the referendum, which
extends President Tandja's rule for three additional years.
Tandja had been
scheduled to hand over power after his second five-year term expires in
supporter Alhaji Mahamadou Abubakar told VOA that Nigeriens
still back President Tandja despite foreign threats.
people are welcome. When they come here,
let them look for me and I will take them round the country and they have to
make the investigations true or not true about this referendum. About whether
the people of Niger like Tandja is true or not true. Inshallah (God willing),
they will see," Abubakar
He denied President Tandja
forced the referendum on Nigeriens.
"Surely, President Tandja
has to go in December. But now the people say we love you more to stay. So
nobody can say no, and Tandja does not have the right to say no because Niger's
constitution says Tandja has to respect what the people like. He cannot say no.
No way. Tandja never said that he wants to stay to continue (his good works),"
Abubakar sharply denied that
only a handful of Nigeriens participated in the controversial referendum.
"92 percent voted yes for
the referendum. And that is true because I am the one who went round this
country even to the bush where there was no light, and I saw what the people
needed… The problem is I'm not happy because it was only 92 percent," Abubakar
He expressed regret that
opponents of the referendum are vowing to petition President Tandja about it.
Abubakar also pledged to
hold a news conference soon to denounce recent threats of violence.
Welford, a spokesperson for Canada's foreign affairs ministry says that in issuing its third
press release on the political situation in Niger, Canada is sending a strong
message to Niger authorities who are behind the recent democratic setback.
The Canada ministry adds that Ottawa is
taking every opportunity to defend the democratic values it supports, and will
continue to monitor the situation through its embassy in Niamey.
also says that whenever possible, it will limit contacts with Nigerien
officials it believes are complicit with the recent democratic setback.