ECOWAS Parliament To Mediate Crisis In Niger Republic

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The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS has set up a mediation team to visit the Niger Republic as part of its effort towards the resolution of the impasse arising from the forceful takeover of power and detention of President Mohammed Bazoum in a Coup d’etat led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani on 26 July 2023.

The resolution to set up the Committee was taken at the end of the 2023 First Virtual Extraordinary Session of the Community Parliament on the 12th of August, 2023.

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The Committee which will be Chaired by the 1st Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Idris Wase of Nigeria is expected to consult with the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu before its departure to Niger Republic within the shortest possible time.

Other members of the team include the 3rd Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ibrahima from Togo; Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe from Liberia; Hon. Foutoumatta Njai from Gambia and Senator Ali Ndume from Nigeria.

ECOWAS Parliamentarians from Senegal, Ghana, Cape Verde, Benin Republic and Guinea Bissau are also on the Committee.

Announcing the membership of the Committee, the Honourable Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohammed Tunis mandated it to “discuss with the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of the Heads of State and Governments and fashion on modalities of its mediation and dialogue concerning the Niger Republic issue, including those other countries in the sub-region under military rule and present such within the next two days.

Giving an update on the political situation in the Republic of Niger earlier, the Honourable Speaker noted that the “aftermath carries a high risk of instability, democratic backsliding and severe socio-economic consequences due to sanctions.

“The need to take into consideration security challenges that may arise because of instability in Niger and other countries cannot be overemphasized.

“Niger’s fall to military rule, coupled with the show of solidarity from Mali, Burkina Faso, and armed groupings, could render the ECOWAS region susceptible to danger from armed militia and terrorist groups operating in the Sahel, Boko Haram insurgency, as well as militancy and banditry,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the virtual deliberation witnessed healthy discussions and concerns expressed by Parliamentarians, with majority of the members present strongly supporting the resort to diplomatic channels instead of military intervention in the resolution of the impasse.

The members of the parliament expressed their concern about the coup and called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

The first Deputy Speaker of the Community Parliament, Hon Idris Wase, led the calls for dialogue.

He cautioned against the use of military force, saying that it could lead to a protracted conflict.

Nigerian lawmaker and member of the ECOWAS parliament, Senator Ali Ndume, also kicked against military intervention.

He disclosed that Nigeria and its National Assembly unanimously agreed that the country would not send its troops to Niger to engage in war. The Borno State-born lawmaker urged the parliament to exhaust all possible options of dialogue and negotiations to restore democratic rule to the Republic of Niger

He said Nigeria could not afford to go to war, noting that its people would bear the brunt of any military engagement. Senator Ndume also noted that it would be unconstitutional for Nigeria to go to war with Niger without the approval of the National Assembly of Nigeria and the United Nations security council.

Hon Billay Tunkara of the Gambian national assembly also spoke in favour of dialogue.

He said that there is a need to make a bold statement and end the pattern of military coups in the sub-region of ECOWAS.

However, not everyone agreed with the calls for dialogue. Hon Adebayo Balogun said that the body language of the military juntas does not suggest that they want to dialogue or adopt diplomatic means to resolve the crisis.

He, therefore, urged the parliament and heads of state to carry out military intervention if all means of dialogue had been exhausted.

Hon Linda Ikpeazu from Nigeria also expressed concern about the lack of consequences for previous military coups in the region. She said that this has emboldened the coup plotters and made them more likely to succeed. She urged the ECOWAS leaders to take a strong stance against the coup in Niger and to send a message that military coups will not be tolerated.

The Extraordinary session of the Parliament was a sequel to the resolution of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government which has ordered the activation of ECOWAS standby force to compel the Niger military junta to restore constitutional order.

 

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