Inibehe Effiong, a public interest and human rights lawyer, believes that President Bola Tinubu lacks the legal authority to send any members of the Nigerian Armed Forces to Niger Republic as part of the proposed ECOWAS standby force.
Effiong clarified that parliamentary approval is needed for all combat activities and missions by the nation’s military forces abroad, not just when a state of war is proclaimed between Nigeria and another country.
The human rights lawyer said it’s sad that ECOWAS officials caved to imperialist demands from France to go to war with Niger in a statement he released on Thursday via his social media site.
Effiong said he thinks negotiation is the best way out of the problem, and that Nigeria is not prepared to go to war.
He said, “As at today, Mr. Tinubu does not have the constitutional authority to deploy a single member of the Nigerian Armed Forces as part of the proposed ECOWAS Standby Force to invade Niger Republic.”
“The need for legislative permission is not limited to situations where Nigeria and another country are at war with one another. All overseas military combat operations also need parliamentary approval.
Section 5(4)(a) of the 1999 Constitution states that a declaration of war between Nigeria and another country requires the approval of National Assembly, while Section 5(4)(b) states that “no member of the armed forces of the Federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria except with the prior approval of the Senate.”
This constitutional provision is not affected by the fact that Nigeria is now chairing ECOWAS and is a party to the ECOWAS treaty. Nigeria’s Constitution governs all of the country’s treaties.
Since the Nigerian Senate has already passed a resolution ruling out the use of military force to resolve the Niger crisis, any attempt by Mr. Tinubu to deploy even one member of our Armed Forces to participate in an invasion of Niger under any guise or name would be not only reckless but a gross misconduct that could be treated by the National Assembly as an impeachable offence.
It’s a shame ECOWAS caved to France’s imperialist demands for a war in Niger. They should have pondered why Nigerians as a whole seem to be on board with the coup.
Diplomacy, in my opinion, is the most practical option for resolving this problem. Nigeria is currently not prepared for war. Our military is stretched thin and underfunded. We have not yet succeeded in ending the instability and insurrection within our own borders.
One could reasonably argue that “a country that is going through a terrible financial crisis has no business going to war.”