A former Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Shehu Sani, has urged ECOWAS leaders to allow Nigeriens to fight for democratic rule in their country like Nigerians did….CONTINUE READING....CONTINUE READING
Sani, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He added that the coup d’etat in Niger Republic was an internal matter which only the Nigeriens can take a decision on.
He was speaking against the backdrop of the threat of the use of military force against the military junta in Niger by the leaders of West African sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS.
“The takeover of government in Niger by the military was unfortunate because many people thought that military rule had come to an end and that democracy had come to stay in Africa, and especially the West coast of Africa.
“But we have seen in the past few years how democracy in the sub-region had collapsed. It happened in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and now in Niger Republic.
“Where we are making a fundamental mistake is the way we are handling the matter.
“Coup d’etats are internal issues. And they do not happen within a day. Conditions are created for them to happen.
“But we should not be involved in regime change.
“Armed invasion of Niger will simply be a war between Nigeria and Niger because the former foots the bills of ECOWAS.
“If we are going to engage in an armed attack on Niger Republic, who will provide the soldiers? Is it Togo, Guinea Bissau or Ghana?
“How many soldiers do they have? How much ammunition do they have?
“When we had our own military regimes in Nigeria, we were the ones that fought for democracy.
“Many of us went to prison and many of us went into exile.
“Let Nigeriens stand up and fight for democracy if they want to like we did.
“When we had military rule in 1983 nobody came to Nigeria to reinstate Alhaji Shehu Shagari to power.
“Nobody invaded Nigeria to put MKO Abiola in power.
“Nobody invaded Nigeria to remove Yakubu Gowon at that time to bring back Nnamdi Azikiwe to power.
“Whoever is the president of Niger Republic should be decided by the people of Niger.
“Let us handle the Niger coup with care,’’ he warned.
Niger’s palace guards last month put President Mohamed Bazoum under house arrest and assumed power, drawing condemnation from international powers.
The coup by the Nigerien military raised the spectre of further conflict in the impoverished Sahel region of West Africa which is already overrun by a deadly Islamist insurgency.
ECOWAS on Thursday ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the junta, saying it wanted a peaceful restoration of democracy but all options including force were on the table.
The order for the activation of a standby force came after the junta defied an Aug. 6 deadline set by ECOWAS for it to stand down.
The junta then closed Niger’s airspace and vowed to defend the country against any foreign attack. (NAN)
President Bazoum Mohammed