The political atmosphere in Niger remains tense. Ousted President Mohamed Bazoum faces threats from the military junta, warning of his assassination if ECOWAS takes military action. This startling revelation came to light during a discussion with a top US official, a claim later verified by Western sources.
Following the military’s blatant disregard for democracy restoration, ECOWAS is contemplating a troop deployment to Niger. The ousted president, Bazoum, has been under captivity since his overthrow on July 26.
A recent ECOWAS gathering resolved to mobilize a “standby force” aiming to reinstate democracy post-coup. However, details surrounding this intervention remain undisclosed.
While condemning the coup and continued detainment of Bazoum and his kin, ECOWAS is enforcing stringent measures. This includes sealing borders, implementing travel bans, and freezing assets of those hindering the peace process.
Echoing ECOWAS’s sentiments, the global community, including the UN, is urged to extend their support. Reiterating this sentiment, President Bola Tinubu of the ECOWAS Authority conveyed that all options, including potential military action, are on the table.
In a twist, some Islamic clerics are advocating for dialogue with the junta, seeking a non-violent resolution. They believe military action might exacerbate the situation, leading to greater destruction and potential bloodshed.
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has joined Islamic clerics planning to mediate between the junta in Niger and local Islamic leaders, hoping to persuade the coupists towards dialogue. The organization opposes forceful interventions, referencing the devastating impacts of past ECOWAS missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone, emphasizing that non-violent resolutions are preferred.
Global powers, the US and UN, are increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of the deposed Nigerien president, Mohamed Bazoum, who has been held captive since July 26. Reports suggest he has been in solitary confinement, facing deteriorating living conditions.
Various experts and stakeholders have weighed in:
Gen. Bashir Adewinbi fears a war could exacerbate existing insecurity in Nigeria.
Group Captain Sadique Shehu** pointed out that Nigeria is already facing internal security challenges, and any decision by ECOWAS would strain its resources.
Emmanuel Ojukwu former Commissioner of Police, believes war against Niger isn’t favorable for Nigeria, highlighting the risks posed by Nigeria’s shared borders with several Francophone countries.
Security Expert Timothy Avelewarns of financial burdens and potential destabilization of Nigerian states bordering Niger.
Security Analyst Chidi Omeje believes that the entire West African region would be destabilized with the influx of refugees. He also perceives the unfolding events in Niger as potentially a proxy war supported by Western countries against Russia.
Residents in Katsina State, Nigeria, hoping for peace, gathered for a prayer session. The event was attended by significant state officials, including Governor Dikko Radda, who called for a peaceful resolution and urged Nigerians to support ECOWAS and President Ahmed Bola Tinubu in their endeavors. The governor also assured support to alleviate hardships faced by Nigerians due to the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Katsina State Governor, Dikko Radda, announced that palliatives aimed at mitigating hardships from the removal of fuel subsidy will be directed to the state’s poorest citizens. He declared a firm stance against negotiating with terrorists and urged residents to report suspicious activities, ensuring their anonymity will be maintained.
In Kebbi State, the government expressed optimism about ECOWAS’s intentions, emphasizing their goal isn’t warfare but peace throughout member states. The Press Secretary to the Kebbi State governor, Ahmed Idris, communicated this sentiment in a recent phone interview.
Adewole Adebayo, the 2023 presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party, openly endorsed ECOWAS’s potential military intervention in Niger. On social platform X, he urged the Niger junta to step down, underscoring that they can’t govern without the mandate of the Nigerien people. He emphasized the importance of democratic African nationalism over any form of imperialism.
However, not all reactions favored a military approach. Former Kaduna lawmaker, Shehu Sani, criticized ECOWAS’s dual stance of promoting dialogue while also preparing a standby force. Via X, he cautioned West African leaders against pushing Nigeria into conflict due to the coup in Niger.