Tuesday, September 15, 2015 6:21 am
Niger’s former head of parliament and exiled opposition figure Hama Amadou, who is being sought in connection with an investigation into child-trafficking, vowed on Monday to return home to stand in a presidential election next year.
Some 30 members of the country’s political and social elite, including Hama’s wife, have been charged with acquiring around 30 new-born babies from “baby factories” in neighbouring Nigeria.
Hama, once a close ally of President Mahamadou Issoufou but now considered one of his chief rivals in the February polls, fled to France last year before he could be questioned by investigators.
He has maintained that the case is politically motivated, and on Sunday he was nominated as his MODEN party’s candidate for the presidency.
“I will be in Niger. I will participate in the elections, even if I am in prison. I’ll be there soon,” Hama said in an interview with Niger’s Bonferey television channel.
Hama finished third in the last election in 2011 and subsequently supported Issoufou in a run-off, helping seal his victory.
However, the two men fell out in 2013 over Issoufou’s formation of a government of national unity, a decision Hama accused him of taking unilaterally.
“I will be with the opposition and if I finish third once again, I will support the opposition candidate in the second round, whoever that is,” Hama said.
In a recent interview with French magazine Paris Match, Interior Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou said Hama would be arrested if he returned to Niger.