ECOWAS Deadline: AANI cautions against military action on Niger Republic
The Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) has called for caution and counselled against military action in the Republic of Niger following Sunday’s expiration of ECOWAS deadline.
The National Publicity Secretary of AANI, retired Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja said the association strongly condemned the military seizure of power in Niger.
Usman said that AANI also supported the efforts of ECOWAS’ towards restoring democracy in the West African country.
He, however, urged ECOWAS to consider the immediate and long-term implications of its actions on the people of Niger and the wider West African sub-region.
He said addressing the root cause of political crisis in Niger and strengthening democratic institutions in the country was vital to aECOWAS chieving lasting peace and stability in the region.
“AANI, therefore, urges caution against immediate military action.
“Instead non-military options like diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions should be adopted towards a peaceful resolution and a quicker return to democratic governance in Niger Republic, ” he said.
According to him, Military action by ECOWAS may escalate the current situation into a humanitarian crisis and worsen the security challenges in the West African sub-region.
Usman said that military option might also escalate tensions in the Lake Chad region and other parts of West Africa, attracting other armed groups and external actors to take advantage.
“This would exacerbate the security challenges and create a more complex and dangerous situation.
“It is, therefore, essential to prioritise peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the political crisis,” he said.
AANI spokesman urged ECOWAS to upscale diplomatic efforts to persuade the military leaders in Niger to relinquish power and allow the democratically elected government to reclaim the people’s mandate.
According to him, by avoiding military intervention, ECOWAS would have demonstrated commitment to peaceful conflict resolution and regional stability.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on July 30, ECOWAS announced a one-week ultimatum for the coup plotters in Niger to hand over power to the democratically elected government.
The decision was made following an extraordinary session of the ECOWAS member states, presided over by President Bola Tinubu, its chairman, in Abuja.
At that meeting, a resolution was reached to impose several sanctions on Niger over the military coup.
Reading the communique, Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, said the authority affirmed its recognition of Mohamed Bazoum as the legitimate president of Niger and only his official acts or that of his duly mandated officials will be recognised.
The authority also condemned the detention of Bazoum, calling for his immediate release and reinstatement.
ECOWAS said in the event that the demand is not met within one week, all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger, including the use of force, will be taken.
Touray said in the meantime, ECOWAS has resolved to close all land and air borders between member countries and Niger.
It also resolved to institute an ECOWAS ‘no fly zone’ on all commercial flights to and from Niger.
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Other resolutions include the “suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger”.
All service transactions will be frozen including energy transactions and deals with all financial institutions.
In addition, a travel ban will be imposed and an asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup.
The same sanctions apply to the family members of the military officials and the civilians who accept to participate in any institution or government established by the military officials.
NAN also reports that on Aug, 3, Chiefs of Defence Staff of the ECOWAS met in Abuja over the situation in Niger.
The meeting was attended by ten countries, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Benin and Senegal.
Those absent from the meeting are Mali, Niger, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso.
Nigeria’s Chief of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa, hosted the meeting.
NAN also reports that on Wednesday, the Chairman of the ECOWAS authority of heads of state, President Tinubu dispatched a delegation to Niger Republic with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the current political impasse in the country.
After receiving a briefing from President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja, the team, led by former Head of State , Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar 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, are included in the delegation with the former head of state of Nigeria.
The President has also dispatched a different group, led by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, to discuss the Niger problem with the leaders of Libya and Algeria.
President Tinubu briefed the two delegations and urged them to engage all parties vigorously in order to ensure a successful and amicable resolution of the Niger situation for the benefit of African peace and development rather than a move to adopt the geopolitical positions of other countries. (NAN)