By Mark Orgu, News/Comments, August 11, 2023
A group known as Concerned Nigerians, all from Northern extraction, with distinguished profiles and character; AB Mahmoud SAN , Prof Jibrin Ibrahim, Gen (rtd) M L Agwai, Prof Attahiru Jega, Prof M J Kuna, Dr Kole Shettima, Dr. Hussaini Abdu Malam , Kabiru Yusuf, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, Kabiru Adamu Moufta’u Baba Ahmed, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Dr. Yahya Hashim, has written to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahamed Tinubu, who is also the Chairman, ECOWAS, not to allow military force against the Niger cupists, who overthrown president Bazoum two weeks ago, stressing that, while they condemn the the coup in totality, but advised that, Nigeria is still faced with insecurity that has taken the country backward, even as it warn that any military invade by ECOWAS against Niger will create grievous consequence for Nigeria who share common cultutre, language, border among others. The letter read:
An Open Letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR Topic:
The Niger Coup d’état: Aligning ECOWAS and Our National Interest To: H E Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria From: Concerned Citizens Date: Abuja, 9th August 2023)
We join the Nigerian Government, the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS and the peoples of West Africa in condemning the coup of 26th July in the Republic of Niger that detained and sought to overthrow the Constitutional order in the Republic of Niger and illegally detained the legitimate Head of State, His Excellency President Mohamed Bazoum as well as members of his family and government;
We applaud and appreciate the immediate steps that HE, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chair of Authority of Heads of State, has taken in the form of statements, communiqués, missions and consultations with regional, continental, and world leaders for the immediate restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
We firmly support the principle of Zero tolerance for unconstitutional change of government as enshrined in the ECOWAS and African Union Protocols and other instruments, We understand the factors that led to the very strong measures in terms of sanctions, economic blockade and the possible use of force in re-establishing constitutional order.
We believe that HE, President Mohamed Bazoum remains the legitimate elected President and Head of State of the Republic of Niger recognized by ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community; In this regard, we recognize that only official acts of President Bazoum or his duly mandated officials should be recognized.
Nonetheless, we respectfully observe as follows:
- Niger is a very dear, brotherly and supportive neighbour to Nigeria and its people and measures taken should not be allowed to harm the Nigerien people;
- The cutting off of electricity supply to Niger, breaking a longstanding treaty obligation, may ultimately harm our national interest especially within the perspective of the Kandadji dam currently under construction by the Nigerien Government;
3.The apparent rising wave of popular support for the putschists might create a situation in which the role of Nigeria is seen as being at variance with the interest of the Nigerien people and in support of external interests;
4. Already, there is an orchestrated campaign in the social and traditional media portraying Nigeria in a negative light as an agent of France and the United States.
5.The strong presence of French, American and to a lesser extent Italian security personnel and assets, including a large US drone base, creates a situation that could easily transform an intervention for the restoration of democracy into a complex proxy war fought out by foreign interests engaged in the new geopolitical repositioning of world powers.
6. In this regard, the current security challenges of insecurity around the Boko Haram insurgency, farmer-herder conflicts, banditry and mass kidnapping might all be exacerbated as the flow of arms, violent extremism and armed banditry spread and deepen in our sub-region.
7. Nigeria has a serious humanitarian crisis, with millions of internally displaced persons and hundreds of thousands of refugees including in Niger. It is important to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis.
8. It is therefore important that as a Nation, we align our approach to the restoration of democracy in Niger to our national interests.
- Create conditions for the restoration of Trach 1 as well as Trach 2 diplomacy by making a gesture to the putschists through measures such as the withdrawal of the threat of use of force;
- Immediate deployment of Track 2 diplomacy through traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society to urge the junta to open doors to diplomatic discussions between the two governments – Nigeria and Niger as well as the Authority of Heads of State of ECOWAS.
- Provide assurances to the Nigerien people of Nigeria’s commitment to maintaining friendship and fraternal relations with the government and people of Niger.
- Improve Nigeria’s strategic communication showing actions undertaken are in tandem with our long-standing commitment to the protection and consolidation of democracy within Nigeria, ECOWAS and Africa.
- Make clear our collective resolve towards the full restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
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