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Our concerns about ECOWAS military action in Nigeria – Nigeriens in Nigeria



Since July 26, when its top military commanders launched a coup that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, a democratically elected leader, the Republic of Niger has been a thorn in the flesh of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

After diplomatic manoeuvres, which saw Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who also serves as Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, send delegations four times, the use of military action to reinstate deposed Niger’s leader, Bazoum, has been considered.

While the General Abdourahamane Tchiani-led junta did not blink an eye, Nigerien nationals living in Kano, Abbas Dalekon and Alhaji Abdulwahab Tama, spoke with Vanguard’s BIODUN BUSARI about their worries and prospects over the Niger situation.

The coup has been declared illegal.

Mali and Burkina Faso are the two countries that have backed Niger’s junta and are ready to form an alliance if the regional bloc intervenes militarily. Other West African countries have joined ECOWAS in condemning the coup attempt.

In his reaction to the coup, Nigerian businessman Tama stated that Bazoum’s government represented the desire of the people and hence denounced the coup in its totality.

“I condemned the coup in my country because the democratic government of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum was the voice of the people, which is the essence of democracy,” said the 67-year-old Nigerian citizen. The Nigerien people elected him, therefore a few military officers cannot simply wake up one day and overthrow him for whatever reason.”

ECOWAS should avoid any military engagement.

Tinubu has twice dispatched a delegation led by former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar, and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, to engage the junta in peaceful discourse. Still, they were stuck, forcing them to consider using force.

He also dispatched another delegation led by an Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, to mediate with the putschists, but the two meetings had no results.

In response, Dalekon stated, “I do not support ECOWAS invading Niger because of the actions of a few military leaders who overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum’s government.” I understand the struggle is against the junta, but there is no way this could not lead to war and destabilise Niger.”

The 45-year-old guy said he understood that ECOWAS intended to go to war with the putschists, but that innocent people, especially women and children, would be killed.

“Many people, including women and children, would perish if ECOWAS invaded Niger.” Because I am a civilian, I am unable to travel to Niger. Because I am not a soldier, I lack the necessary training to face combat. But my hope is that this does not happen. Dalekon stated, “I’m in Kano, but my family is in Niger.”

Nigeria should treat Niger fairly.

The Nigeriens urged the Nigerian government to reopen the closed borders with Niger and begin distributing electricity to their homeland, emphasising that the public is suffering as a result of the Tchiani-led junta’s transgression.

“The Nigerian government should open the border and bring light back to Niger because doing so puts Nigeriens in hardship.” The battle should be waged against the junta, not the people. Many innocent people would perish if ECOWAS forces were deployed to Niger,” Tama said.

Fear of war’s consequences

The Nigeriens emphasised that the consequences of war are grave, and they worried what happened in Somalia and Sudan, while insisting that ongoing mediation and dialogue will settle the Niger conflict.

“If possible, let ECOWAS give them like a year or two years to transition power to the civilian government,” Dalekon added, adding that military involvement is not acceptable. Niger remains my nation, and I will not allow it to be assaulted. What happened in Sudan, Somalia, and other war-torn countries frequently began like way. What ECOWAS is attempting to accomplish is understandable, but the results will be disastrous. “My daughter married a soldier from Niger.”

“The junta’s proposed three-year term is unacceptable.” The coupists should simply hand over control to the democratically elected government as soon as possible, but three years is not enough,” Tama continued.

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