Tinubu Prepares for War in Niger Republic
President Bola Tinubu on Friday, in a letter to the Senate and read at plenary by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, sought the support of the National Assembly on the proposed military action and other sanctions planned by Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) against the military officers who recently seized power in Niger Republic.
Soldiers from the Presidential Guard had last Wednesday deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, thus truncating the constitutional political leadership in the West African country.
Two days later, the soldiers named General Abdourahamane Tchiani as the new leader of the country, with Tchiani warning against any foreign military intervention.
President Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, had on Sunday met with some fellow ECOWAS leaders and they agreed on appropriate ways to restore democracy in Niger.
As part of the resolutions of the extraordinary summit of the regional bloc, ECOWAS said it would explore “all measures necessary” to restore democratic governance in Niger, including “the use of force.”
President Tinubu, in his letter to the Senate on Friday, notified them of the decisions of the ECOWAS leaders.
In the letter titled, “Request for support in the implementation of the resolutions of ECOWAS on the political situation in Niger Republic”, Tinubu said, “I present my modest compliments to the Distinguished Senate President and have the honour to inform you that following the unfortunate political situation in Niger, culminating in the overthrow of the administration of President Bazoum, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup in its entirety and resolved alongside other members of the international community, to seek the return of the democratically elected government in Niger.
“Consequently, and in a bid to broker peace and restore democracy in the country the ECOWAS convened an Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on Sunday, 30th July 2023 in Abuja.
“The body consistent with African Union and ECOWAS Protocols on unconstitutional changes of Government. thereafter, issued a Communiqué (copy attached) on the line of action decided upon by member States of ECOWAS.
“Nigeria has the obligation to lead in the implementation of the directives outlined in the Communiqué and, as such, steps have been taken to give effect to the resolutions, here.
“Accordingly, the Distinguished Senate is invited to note the foregoing and the following actions expected of Ministries. Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies, including Military and Para-Military Agencies. These actions include:
“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with Niger Republic and reactivation of the Border during the Exercise.
“Cutting off Electricity supply to Niger Republic.
“Mobilising international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS Communiqué
“Preventing the operation of commercial and Special flights into and from Niger Republic.
“Blockade of goods in transit to Niger Republic, especially from Lagos and Eastern Sea Ports.
“Embarking on the sensitisation of Nigerians and Nigeriens on the imperative of the action by ECOWAS, particularly via social media.
“Military build-up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the Military Junta in Niger Republic should they remain recalcitrant.
“Freezing assets of state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks.
“In the fight of the foregoing, I wish to respectfully solicit the support of the National Assembly for the successful implementation of the ECOWAS Resolution as outlined in the attached Communiqué.
“While looking forward to your usual cooperation, kindly accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.”
ECOWAS Defence Chiefs Say Military Action Plan Ready
The Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS said yesterday that a military action plan for the restoration of democracy in Niger Republic was ready.
The military chiefs said the plan including the date and time of deployment was before the Heads of State and Government for approval.
Speaking at the end of the three-day meeting of the defence chiefs at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, said the defence chiefs met and came up with a plan to ensure constitutional order in Niger and the release of the deposed President Bazoun.
He said the regional bloc aligns with President Tinubu’s position that military coups on Africa was an aberation.
In his remarks, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Musa, stated that the military chiefs reached a collective decision. “Throughout our discussions, we have collectively recognised the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for a well-coordinated response. The deliberations have been marked by a spirit of unity, cooperation and determination to address the challenges at hand.
“We have examined the immediate implications of the coup on the Niger Republic and its potential ripple effects across the ECOWAS region. We have also deliberated on the broader implications for democracy, peace, and stability in West Africa”, he said.
The defence chief said discussions yielded valuable insights and actionable recommendations.
“We have acknowledged the need for a comprehensive approach that encompasses political, security, and diplomatic dimensions. It is imperative that we translate our deliberations into concrete actions that can effectively address the crisis and prevent a recurrence in the future.
“Firstly, we must emphasise the importance of upholding democratic principles and the rule of law. The coup in the Niger Republic represents a blatant disregard for these fundamental principles that underpin our regional integration and stability. We must unequivocally condemn such actions and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to democracy”, he said.
ACF Warns Against Intervention in Niger
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has warned President Tinubu and other ECOWAS leaders against military intervention in Niger Republic.
In a statement issued Friday through its General Secretary, Murtala Aliyu, the ACF called for dialogue to resolve the issue. The ACF said: “The measures being contemplated should have taken into consideration the historical antecedents and mutual interests of the two countries and weighed the consequences of the use of military force. While the ACF recognises the ECOWAS position to bring pressure to bear on the perpetrators, nevertheless the military option shouldn’t be a prerequisite for Nigeria’s and the Community’s continuing efforts to enthrone democracy in the region in the 21st century.
“To this end, ACF notes that while it supports the position to restore democratic rule in Niger, it calls on the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government under the able Chairmanship of President Bola Tinubu, that it should toe the path of dialogue and diplomacy and certainly not force, in resolving the current impasse in Niger in the interest of peaceful coexistence with our brotherly neighbour and stability of the ECOWAS region.”