ABUJA, NIGERIA - MAY 29: Nigeria President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu arrives to attend swearing-in ceremony at Eagle Square venue in the capital, Abuja, Nigeria on May 29, 2023. (Photo by Emmanuel Osodi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Nigeria’s President Tinubu has called for military intervention in Niger

In a letter addressed to the national assembly, President Bola Tinubu has called for military intervention in Niger Republic in response to the recent coup in the West African nation. Senate President Godswill Akpabio read out the letter during a plenary session on Friday.

President Tinubu, who also serves as the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), outlined the bloc’s decision to deploy military force in Niger Republic. This decision was reached during a meeting held in Abuja on Sunday.

ECOWAS, under President Tinubu’s leadership, has condemned the coup and is determined to restore the democratically elected government in Niger. The regional bloc has given Niger a one-week deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, failing which tougher sanctions will be imposed.

The proposed measures in the letter include the closure and monitoring of all land borders with Niger Republic, cutting off electricity supply to the nation, and mobilizing international support for the implementation of the ECOWAS communique. Additionally, ECOWAS aims to prevent commercial and special flights into and from Niger, as well as blockade goods in transit to Niger, particularly from Lagos and eastern seaports. The bloc plans to use social media for sensitization campaigns to highlight the importance of these actions.

Furthermore, President Tinubu’s letter suggests a military build-up and the deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance should the military junta in Niger refuse to cooperate.

This move comes as part of ECOWAS’s efforts to address a broader challenge of democratic backsliding in West Africa. In recent years, member states such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea have also experienced coups, prompting ECOWAS to take strong actions to safeguard democratic principles and stability in the region.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had advised against military hostilities in Niger, emphasizing dialogue as a more viable option.

In response to the situation in Niger, an ECOWAS delegation led by former military head of state Abdulsalami Abubakar visited the capital, Niamey, for negotiations with the country’s military junta. However, the delegation’s efforts were met with limited success, as they only met with representatives of the junta.

Following the delegation’s arrival, the Nigerien military announced the termination of its ambassadors’ duties in four countries, namely Nigeria, France, the United States, and Togo.

The developments in Niger have raised concerns among regional leaders and underscore the importance of finding a swift and peaceful resolution to restore democratic governance in the country.

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