“Employ Political diplomacy, not military action”- Senate tells ECOWAS

“Employ Political diplomacy, not military action”- Senate tells ECOWAS

In opposition to President Bola Tinubu’s plea as ECOWAS chairman, the Nigerian Senate chamber has rejected the option of military operations in the neighbouring Niger Republic.

The Senate in its recent sitting, read out a communique sent to the house and requesting the house’ consent to deploy military intervention from Nigeria to the Niger under the auspices of the ECOWAS military intervention.

The Republic of Niger has since July 2023, experienced so much unrest after a military junta led by 59-year-old Abdourahamane Tiani overturned the country’s democratic government.

General Abdourahmane Tiani, who was declared as the new head of state of Niger by leaders of a coup, arrives to meet with ministers in Niamey, Niger July 28, 2023.|REUTERS

Given this, ECOWAS had issued the military junta a seven-day ultimatum, calling for the immediate release and reinstatement of the country’s detained President, Mohamed Bazoum as the legitimate head of state and government of the Republic of Niger.

The ECOWAS’ said if its demands are not met within one week, it would take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger including the use of force for this effect.

As the expiration of the ultimatum draws close, ECOWAS, under the chairmanship of Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu is opting for a military invasion of the Republic of Niger to bring normalcy to the West African state.

But advising the Federal Government, the Senate said it was better to address the issue politically rather than using military action.

Recall that President Tinubu had written the Senate on Friday, seeking the implementation of the Resolutions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in Niger Republic.

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As contained in the communique, the ECOWAS said that military action would be carried against any country that forcefully toppled a democratically elected government.

But considering the executive communication during a closed-door session that lasted for more than two hours on Saturday, which was raised by the Senate leader, Bamidele Opeyemi, the Senate rejected military action and insisted on engaging with the Nigerian President on resolving the issue.

Speaking after the closed-door session, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said at the closed session they considered Tinubu’s request and resolved to go for a political solution rather than military action, considering the long-standing relationship between Nigeria and Niger.

Akpabio said, “At our executive session, the Senate condemned in totality the coup that took place in Niger Republic.

“The Senate commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other Heads of State of ECOWAS on their prompt response.

“The Senate recognises the fact that President Tinubu, by the virtue of his correspondence, has not asked that we should approve a request to go to war, but he expressed a wish to solicit support in the successful implementation of the ECOWAS communique.

“The leadership of the Senate is mandated to further engage the President on how best to engage and resolve the issues,” Akpabio said.

He also called on the chairman of ECOWAS to further engage leaders to strengthen political options in resolving the political situation in Niger.

“The Senate is mandated to further engage President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on how best to resolve the issue given the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Niger.

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The Senate however called on the ECOWAS Parliament and other leaders to condemn the coup d’etat in the country.

“The Senate called on the ECOWAS Parliament to rise to this and condemn the military coup in Niger and to resolve the impasse,” Akpabio added.

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