Following the president of Nigeria’s decision to pursue military action against the junta in the Niger Republic, President Bola Tinubu, palpable terror has engulfed Nigerians, particularly those in the north.
Following the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, by his military guard last week, bendelnews reported that regional leaders of the West African bloc are putting together plans to bring democracy back to that nation.
Remember that on July 27, some 10 senior military officers, commanded by Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, announced a coup in Niger via a national broadcast due to alleged bad governance and the government’s incapacity to address security issues and other problems plaguing the nation.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by its newly elected Chairman, President Bola Tinubu, moved swiftly to put an end to another military regime in the area. The ECOWAS handed the junta a seven-day deadline to return to normalcy or face harsh sanctions.
The request was made last week during an emergency conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
The leaders of West Africa agreed on seven political penalties that would force the military to submit, according to a communiqué issued after the summit. They asserted that West African States would guarantee:
Reactivation of the border drilling exercise and closure and monitoring of the land crossings with the Niger Republic.
“Removing electricity from the Niger Republic”
“Securing international backing for the implementation of the ECOWAS communique’s provisions”
limiting the use of commercial and special aviation operations into and out of the Niger Republic
Especially from Lagos and eastern seaports, there is a blockade of goods travelling to Niger.
Sensitising Nigerians and Nigeriens on the necessity of these activities, especially through social media
If the military junta in Niger continues to defy orders, there will be a military buildup and manpower deployment for military action.
On August 3, Tinubu sent a mission to Niger with instructions to swiftly break the country’s political deadlock in an effort to carry out the resolutions.
Following a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja, the team, led by former Nigerian Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), departed for Niamey on Thursday.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Omar Alieu Touray, joined the former head of state of Nigeria in the trip.
Bendelnews learned that the Nigerien military had promised to oppose the ECOWAS leadership’s resolutions, hence the delegation’s efforts were not producing any fruitful results.
According to a person acquainted with the situation who asked to remain anonymous, Tinubu’s request to the Senate for authorization of military strikes against the junta was prompted by the Nigerien soldiers’ failure to find a solution.
The ECOWAS’s last suggestion was military action, but it appears that the Niger soldiers are not prepared for negotiations.
“Therefore, the President needs to plan forward. The National Assembly must approve any such mission before the Nigerian Army can embark on it. The information and films we’ve been seeing indicate that the Niger soldiers have forged relationships with Russia and other strong countries waiting for conflict.
Who is aware of their plan? We have all seen the demonstration that took place in Niamey on Friday, where our president was subjected to a barrage of insults. We must get ready in advance.
According to a previous report from bendelnews, President Tinubu requested the Senate’s assent on Friday before launching a military operation to quell the political turmoil in Niger.
Godswill Akpabio, President of the Senate, read the letter aloud on Friday in the Upper Chamber.
However, the threat of military intervention has created a tangible fear among Nigerians, especially in the northern regions that border Niger.
Recall that on Monday, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger joined forces to issue a joint statement warning that any military intervention in their neighbour, which is currently experiencing a coup, would amount to war in the West African area.
According to Bendelnews, the distance between Katsina State and Niamey, the capital of Niger, is 371 miles and 10 hours and 45 minutes by car.
Many people worry that the impending military involvement may compel the Niger junta to launch attacks against a few of the Northern States.
In a widely shared video on Friday, Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo, a Kano-based imam, cautioned Tinubu against leading Nigeria to attack Niger.
Rijiyar Lemo advised ECOWAS to find a peaceful solution to the problems, claiming that any military entry would just exacerbate the region’s numerous socioeconomic problems.
Everyone is aware of the numerous negative effects that war, especially at this time, has. It won’t be clear to us how or when it will end, he continued.
On Friday, the Northern Senators Forum similarly forbade ECOWAS from restoring democracy in the Niger Republic through military force.
Senator Abdul Ahmad Ningi (Bauchi), who served as their leader, advocated for the use of political and diplomatic channels to help that nation’s government return to democracy.
Suleiman A. Kawu Sumaila, the forum’s spokesperson, warned that using military force in the Niger Republic and the seven Nigerian States that border Niger will result in the deaths of many innocent civilians.
The statement went on to say, “We take exception to the use of military force until the other options as mentioned have been exhausted as the consequences will be casualties among the innocent citizens who go about their daily business.”
Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, also stated to Daily Post on Saturday that Northerners will be directly impacted by any attempt to launch a military intervention in Niger.
He pleaded with President Tinubu and the Senate to hold off on taking military action against the Niger junta until all diplomatic options have been explored.
First of all, we haven’t even used all the available resources before deciding that we need to start a war, he remarked.
The decision is being made quickly. Nigeria is not, in my opinion, currently equipped for war. Keep in mind that we already face dire internal problems that pose a threat to our survival.
“Remember that the North will be directly impacted if conflict breaks out in Niger. Why are we taking Panadol for someone’s headaches? I have no idea. We are standing here with another man’s cross on our heads while the people of Niger are celebrating the coup.
Consequently, what we are seeing and hearing is not all there is to it. According to my opinion, the Senate and the President should both exercise extreme caution before approving anything.
“We currently don’t have the funds or manpower to waste that much. A country invasion is not the appropriate topic at this time.
Keep in mind that Russia is interested in this situation. For the time being, I oppose war. In order to avoid creating difficulties for ourselves, let’s be aware of our own inner struggles.
Hours after Tinubu’s letter to the Senate, the ECOWAS security committee—which is made up of the military heads of certain West African nations—said it would give diplomacy a chance in Niger rather than continuing with the junta’s current activities in the nation.
The chiefs pledged a stepped-up diplomatic effort to engage with all pertinent parties and make sure that conversation and negotiation are at the forefront of the strategy to address the problem in the Republic of Niger.