Niger Coup: ECOWAS Romance with the West

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By Abubakar Umar;  Writes from Katsina

Katsina: (Flowerbudnews): The more money you spend on guns, the less money you spend on people! More weapons, less happiness; more guns, more misery!” Mehmet Murat Ildan

The concrete ties which exist between Niger Republic and Nigeria dates back long before the colonial era especially the Northern part of Nigeria which shares a border of about 1500 kilometers with the neighboring country.

Meanwhile, before the artificial borders created and imposed on Africans by the West, these are people that lived almost as one because they share common language, culture, religion and a series of inter-marriages that goes on till today between the Northern part of Nigeria and the Republic of Niger in addition to long history of trades since the medieval period.

Unlike the Cameroon and Benin Republic that Nigeria have had border conflict with, the Republic of Niger has never had any border dispute with Nigeria and the relationship between these two countries has always been that of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other just as demanded by international law.

During the Nigerian civil war, Niger Republic was actively involved in the diplomacy that seeks to bring an end to the war and encouraged the restoration of normalcy in Nigeria by its then President Hamani Diori.

On the issue of whether the situation in Niger Republic calls for foreign interference to warrant any country, regional bloc on an international organization to interfere is a question of law as the sovereignty of any country in relation to non-interference is rigidly enshrined under the Westphalian Treaty of 1648.

The only exceptions being security council authorization, countermeasures or consent.

The decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by the President of Nigeria Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the use of force against the junta in Niger Republic that ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum on the 26th of July 2023 is totally against the dictates and tenets of the law as ECOWAS has no authority whatsoever to intervene militarily despite gaining supports from some western countries like France and the US.

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter is crystal clear in that regards and has clearly laid down the stages to be taken before any act of aggression against a foreign power. Article 41 and 42 provides thus;

Article 41:
The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures.

These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.

Article 42:
Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.

Looking at the ECOWAS decision from the social perspective, their approach is going to cause serious instability which will greatly impact on the Northern part of Nigeria that share strong ties with Niger.

The Northern populace are greatly against this decision just like the Nigerien people that seems to be happy with the military take over in their country.

What baffles me is why ECOWAS is persistent and even willing to use military might to force the junta on to bending the knee despite the wide support they seem to enjoy from the Nigerien populace.

Although the regional bloc claimed to be trying to restore democracy in Niger Republic but isn’t democracy defined as the government of the people, for the people and by the people?

Although the process through which the military junta come into power is undemocratic but then the will of the people should be respected as the whole idea of democracy is about people having the right to make a choice as to who should and should not govern them.

The Nigerien people have come out in mass to support the new military leaders and as such it is only rational for ECOWAS to stand back and continue to employ diplomacy so as to negotiate the country back to normalcy without unnecessarily employing the use of force.

As John Steinbeck rightly put it “All war is a symptom of a man’s failure as a thinking animal”.

We in the North do not support any use of force against Niger Republic and we will encourage President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the head of ECOWAS to reconsider their stance and device a proper approach of resolving the issue in Niger. (Flowerbudnews)

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