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Niger Coup, ECOWAS tensions: Senate, Sultan group reject military action, caution Tinubu
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Niger Coup, ECOWAS tensions: Senate, Sultan group reject military action, caution Tinubu

The Senate and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, have asked the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS,

  • PublishedAugust 6, 2023

The Senate and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, have asked the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, and other leaders of the region to tread with caution in addressing the political quagmire in Niger Republic following the sack of the democratically elected administration of Mohamed Bazoum.

Rising from a closed-door session that lasted about two hours to discuss the letter sent by Tinubu on the decisions taken by the regional body, the Senate, yesterday, condemned the coup d’etat in Niger but asked ECOWAS and its leaders to deploy political and diplomatic options to resolve the political impasse.

Tinubu had, on Friday, written the Senate intimating it about the coup in the neighbouring country and proposed military action and other sanctions against the juntas by the ECOWAS.

The Senate and the JNI made their positions known as the seven-day ultimatum given by West African leaders for the military in Niger to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum drew to a close, even as analysts said both sides have crucial decisions to make.

Last Sunday evening, the regional bloc, headed by Tinubu, said the junta had a week to restore constitutional order or face the possible use of force.

Sanctions on the coup leaders have already been imposed and electricity supplies from Nigeria have been cut, along with borders, meaning goods are no longer arriving and the land-locked country has lost access to ports.

But as the political, diplomatic and military tensions rise, what could happen as the deadline passes?
One option, according to analysts, is for the ECOWAS leaders to extend the deadline.

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“This has the danger of being seen as a climbdown, but the heads of state could save face by saying that diplomatic efforts have made progress and they want to give them more time,” one analyst said.

“The problem at the moment is that Ecowas mediation efforts have not borne fruit. A delegation sent to Niger on Thursday returned within a few hours with apparently little to show for it”.

Meanwhile, the junta stepped up its rhetoric against both the West and ECOWAS. It announced that it was cutting diplomatic ties with Nigeria, Togo, the US and France, and said it was cancelling the military agreements with France which allows the former colonial power to base some 1,500 soldiers there.

Reading the resolutions of the Senate after the meeting, yesterday, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, said: “The Senate recognizes that President Tinubu via his correspondence has not asked for the approval of the parliament of this Senate to go to war as erroneously suggested in some quarters.

“Rather, Mr. President has expressed a wish to respectfully solicit the support of the National Assembly in the successful implementation of the resolutions of the ECOWAS as outlined in the said communication.

“The Senate calls on President Tinubu to further encourage other leaders of ECOWAS to strengthen political and diplomatic options and other means to resolve the political impasse in Niger.

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