The former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) against proceeding with the planned military action in Niger Republic.
The development prompted ECOWAS, under the chairmanship of President Bola Tinubu, to impose a wide range of sanctions on the Niger Republic to force a return to constitutional order in the country.
The sanctions announced during an extraordinary meeting of the ECOWAS in Abuja on July 30, 2023, include the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS countries and Niger.The regional body leaders also agreed to establish a no-fly zone on all commercial flights to and from Niger and suspend all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Niger.
But, Atiku in a tweet on the evening of Thursday, August 3, 2023, Atiku expressed his disapproval of using military hostilities in Niger, which he said may exacerbate the situation.
The military intervention in the Republic of Niger has created tension across the West Africa sub-region, and it is a development that has caused international attention to that neighbouring country of ours.“The putsch is even more worrisome because the number of states that have witnessed military intervention in the last three years in the subregion is increasing,” he said.
However, the former Vice President commended Nigeria and ECOWAS for the leadership roles they’re playing in resolving the crisis.
“Of course, the world expects Nigeria to take up leadership in ensuring that the crisis of political leadership in the Republic of Niger is not just curtailed but also ensuring the restoration of democratic governance in that country.
“While the expectations that fall on Nigeria as the sub-regional leader is not a quick fix, it must be expressed that the role taken so far by the Economic Community of West African States has been commendable,”
He noted that “As the ECOWAS continues to work towards reinstating democracy in the Republic of Niger, it must be reinforced that the regional body should not travel the road of military hostilities that may exacerbate the status quo. The crisis in the Republic of Niger requires diplomatic engagements, and that must mean that the channels for dialogue should be well sustained.“While the world expects Nigeria to take a leading role in this process of peaceful conflict resolution, it must be clear to the military insurrectionists in the Republic of Niger that the world cannot afford to wait for too long before this crisis is resolved reasonably.“This is undoubtedly a challenging time for the West African region. However, any actions taken towards the prompt resolution of the crisis in the Republic of Niger must prioritize democracy as the ultimate victor,” Atiku maintained.