Fear overwhelms Nigerians, particularly northern citizens, in the aftermath of President Bola Tinubu’s decision to seek military action against the Niger Republic’s junta.
Following the overthrow of Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, by his military guard last week, leaders of the West African regional bloc are formulating strategies to restore democracy to that country.
Remember that on July 27, roughly ten senior military personnel led by Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane announced a coup in Niger via a national broadcast over alleged bad governance and the government’s failure to address security and other concerns confronting their country.
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, led by its newly elected Chairman, President Bola Tinubu, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the junta to restore normalcy or face harsh sanctions.
The ultimatum was set last week during an emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
According to a communiqué issued following the summit, West African leaders agreed on seven political penalties that would force the military to submit. West African states would, according to them, ensure:
“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with the Niger Republic, as well as reactivation of the border drilling exercise.”
“Suspended electricity supply to the Niger Republic”
“Securing international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communique”
“Blocking commercial and special flights into and out of Niger Republic”
“Blockade of goods in transit to Niger, particularly from Lagos and the eastern seaports”
“Beginning to educate Nigerians and Nigeriens on the importance of these actions, particularly through social media.”
“Military build-up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to compel the military junta in Niger to comply if they remain obstinate”
Tinubu deployed a mission to Niger on August 3rd with the mandate to resolve the country’s political impasse as soon as possible.
The team, led by former Nigerian Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), left for Niamey on Thursday following a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.
The delegation included the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Omar Alieu Touray.
However, We learned that the delegation’s efforts were producing no beneficial results, as the Nigerien military pledged to oppose ECOWAS leadership resolutions.
A source acquainted with the event who did not want his name disclosed told DAILY POST in Abuja on Saturday that “it was the refusal of the Nigerien soldiers to resolve the matter that caused Tinubu to ask the Senate for approval of military actions against the junta.”
“Military action was the last thing ECOWAS proposed, but it appears that the soldiers in Niger are not ready for talks.”
“As a result, the President must plan ahead.” The Nigerian army cannot go on such a mission without the consent of the National Assembly. According to reports and recordings, Niger forces have formed contacts with Russia and other powerful nations in preparation for war.
“Who knows what their strategy is?” We all observed the protest in Niamey on Friday, where people hurled insults at our president. We need to plan ahead of time.”
It has been reported that President Tinubu sought Senate approval on Friday for a military action to address political turmoil in Niger.
Godswill Akpabio, President of the Senate, read the letter on the floor of the Upper Chamber on Friday.
The threat of military intervention, on the other hand, has caused real terror in Nigerians, particularly Northerners who share borders with Niger.
Recall that Burkina Faso and Mali joined forces with Niger on Monday, warning that any military action in their coup-torn neighbor would equate to war in the West African region.
Niamey, Niger’s capital city, is 371 miles and 10 hours 45 minutes away from Katsina State.
There are fears that the approaching military intervention may push the Niger junta to launch attacks on some of the Northern States.
Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo, an Islamic preacher in Kano, cautioned Tinubu in a viral video on Friday not to lead Nigeria into an invasion of Niger.
Rijiyar Lemo remarked that any military entry would exacerbate the region’s plethora of socioeconomic challenges, encouraging ECOWAS to find a diplomatic solution.
“Everyone understands that war, particularly at this time, has a number of consequences.” “We won’t know how or when it ends,” he continued.
Similarly, on Friday, the Northern Senators Forum warned ECOWAS against using military force to restore democracy in Niger Republic.
The senators, chaired by Senator Abdul Ahmad Ningi (Bauchi), advocated for political and diplomatic methods to reestablish democratic administration in that country.
In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Suleiman A. Kawu Sumaila, the forum warned that military force will result in the deaths of many innocent persons in the Niger Republic and seven Nigerian states that share a border with Niger.
“We take exception to the use of military force until other avenues as mentioned are exhausted, as the consequences will be casualties among innocent citizens going about their daily business,” the statement continued.
In addition, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, on Saturday that any military action in Niger will have a direct impact on Northerners.
He asked President Tinubu and the Senate to exhaust all diplomatic options before launching military action against the Niger junta.
“First and foremost, we have not even exhausted all of the necessary tools before concluding that we need to go to war,” he stated.
“The decision is being made hastily. I don’t believe Nigeria is prepared to go to war right now. Don’t forget that we have major internal difficulties that are already threatening our existence.
“Don’t forget that if war breaks out in Niger, the North will be directly affected.” I’m not sure why we’re taking Panadol for someone else’s headache. The people of Niger are celebrating the coup, and we are here bearing another man’s cross on our shoulders.
“This implies that there is more to what we are seeing and hearing. In my opinion, the President should proceed with caution, and the Senate should exercise caution as well.
“We don’t have that kind of money, and we don’t have that kind of manpower to waste right now.” It is far too early to talk about invading the country.
“Don’t forget that Russia is interested in this case.” For the time being, I am opposed to war. Let us be cognizant of our own personal issues so that we do not invite disaster.”
However, hours after Tinubu’s letter to the Senate, the ECOWAS security committee, comprised of military commanders from many West African countries, stated that they would give diplomacy a chance in Niger in light of the junta’s ongoing activities in the country.
The chiefs guaranteed that there will be an increased diplomatic effort to engage with all key stakeholders and ensure that conversation and negotiation are at the forefront of the approach to resolving the problem in the Republic of Niger.