In a bid to reinstate the democratically elected President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has announced its intention to employ military force if diplomatic measures fall short. President of the Commission, Dr. Omar Touray, conveyed this decision during a recent media briefing, aiming to clarify ECOWAS’ stance on the ongoing crisis in Niger.
President Touray voiced concern about the resurgence of military intervention in African politics and stressed the importance of curbing this trend. He assured the people of Niger that ECOWAS is committed to their welfare and is actively striving to restore civilian governance and political stability in the nation.
The current situation in Niger, characterized by the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum by a military junta, has prompted ECOWAS to take action. Following the coup on July 27, which was ostensibly driven by concerns over widespread poverty, the regional body issued a seven-day ultimatum to the junta. The ultimatum demanded the reinstatement of Bazoum or warned of potential intervention.
Despite the expiration of the ultimatum, ECOWAS’ Authority of Heads of State and Government embarked on a diplomatic initiative to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis. This approach was pursued amid various stakeholders’ calls for cautious handling to prevent escalating violence in the region.
President Touray, however, contended that the situation in Niger is emblematic of a pattern of attempted coups in the region. He emphasized that ECOWAS’ Heads of State and Government collectively deemed this coup as one too many, spurring their resolution to counteract the contagion of military takeovers.
Defending the decision to potentially deploy military force to restore Bazoum’s presidency, President Touray urged critics of ECOWAS’ approach to delve into comprehensive research. He lamented the misrepresentation of ECOWAS’ intentions in media, asserting that the organization’s actions have been inaccurately construed as a declaration of war or imminent invasion.
He clarified, “ECOWAS has neither declared war on the people of Niger nor is there a plan, as it is being purported, to ‘invade’ the country.” Instead, ECOWAS has activated a comprehensive set of sanctions, including the use of legitimate force to reestablish constitutional order.
While diplomatic efforts persist, ECOWAS is simultaneously preparing its military forces for potential deployment. The technical arms of ECOWAS’ decision-making bodies have been instructed to ready the community enforcement mechanism, should circumstances necessitate military intervention.
President Touray acknowledged that ECOWAS’ decision to activate the clause allowing the use of force was a last resort after diplomatic dialogue proved ineffective. He highlighted the organization’s deep concern for the people and the nation of Niger. He further emphasized that historical precedence suggests that military administrations often struggle to address multifaceted challenges effectively.
Reiterating ECOWAS’ commitment, President Touray emphasized that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, the current Chair of ECOWAS’ Authority of Heads of State and Government, aims to swiftly restore civilian rule in Niger through peaceful means. The organization intends to employ all available instruments to achieve this goal.
Source: Vanguard Nigeria
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