In order to return Niger Republic to its democratic government in a peaceful manner, the Katsina Elders Forum has requested that ECOWAS and the African Union enter into negotiations with the country’s military authorities.
At a news conference on Monday in Katsina, Alhaji Aliyu Saulawa, an elder statesman and the forum’s Acting Chairman, issued the call through the forum’s Secretary, Alhaji Ali Muhammad.
He explained that the move would prevent a military coup and allow the junta to implement its political transition plan.
What good would it do for ECOWAS to intervene if it led to war with Niger, Saulawa said, referring to the coupists’ reported threat to kill Muhammad Bazoum, the ousted president of the Niger Republic.
If the ECOWAS were to take military action, he claims, the people of Niger and the states of Nigeria that border the country would suffer.
War is not an easy thing, and ECOWAS should be aware of the effects it can have. That’s why using force isn’t even an issue, and why it shouldn’t be.
Like every other decent person who has spoken out against the use of force, we are urging President Bola Tinubu to use his better judgment and see the light.
“Nigeria and Niger are the same; we have a lot in common,” said Saulawa.
According to Saulawa, Nigeria has plenty of its own difficulties without thinking about diverting resources and military power to deal with Niger’s internal crisis.
He urged the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to try to mediate diplomatically by meeting with the military chiefs and asking for Bazoum’s protection.
Further, he warned ECOWAS not to expect the coup leaders to promptly give up control once they’ve taken it.
With the threat of death hanging over his head, he remarked, “Do you think a military leader who had led a successful coup will relinquish power?”
He also said it was unfair that the former governor of the state, Alhaji Aminu Masari, was not nominated by President Tinubu to be a minister in the upcoming government.