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Niger Coup: Tinubu’s Banana Peel Escape

Aug 12, 2023 | Politics | 0 comments

As ECOWAS head, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu managed the Niger Republic’s political deadlock, a tricky assignment many saw as a political maverick.
The initial order was to close the border between Nigeria and Niger, which the Nigerian customs chief Adeniyi Wale moved to. The order’s consequences were clear and biting within days. A news report showed a large line of Nigeria-bound trucks stalled on the border.

Military intervention in Niger’s political problems would lead to another Afghanistan in our neighbourhood. Any ECOMOG military operation in Niger now might end in disaster. ECOMOG nations lack the capacity and logistics to undertake this massive military operation. After Taylor’s unrelenting onslaught of lethal strikes in 1990, the US and British airforce supported ECOMOG soldiers.

Consider that 3 of France’s 4 lights are powered by Niger-extracted uranium. Unfortunately, Nigeria supplies 90% of Niger’s electricity. Niger has 1.5k French troops. The biggest American drone base is at Agadez, Niger. The West wants that nation to remain its outpost with a leader who responds to Washington and Paris. ECOMOG faces a determined military and a rebellious citizenry if it intervenes. Wagner is one call away from Niger.

Algeria has said it would help Saharan forces if ECOMOG invades. Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali have declared ECOMOG forces’ invasion of Niger a declaration of war. Our troops in Niger may not want to kill their former compatriots, who helped defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP in the Northeast. Chad may not invade Niger. A military endeavour will kill ECOWAS first.

President Tinubu fears a Niger-like situation in Nigeria, but the civil-military divide is blurred. Domestic security has civilianized our military. The ECOMOG invasion of Niger was his worst foreign policy mistake. We must not make a former commander of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fighting terrorism in the Northeast, a militia leader.

Invading Niger will create a vacuum and allow Boko Haram and ISWAP to regroup and conduct brazen assaults on our country. Nigerians of modest means, our IDPS, and thousands of our refugees are suffering. Thus, we must avoid creating another humanitarian disaster using force in Niger.

Stable Niger is stable Nigeria. Invading Niger would cause a humanitarian disaster and feed militant terrorist forces in the North. A conflict in Niger will provide ICU terrorists with a safe harbour and a black market for weapons.

Nigeria has long supported non-alignment, but we cannot ignore the events in our northern neighbours. We must unite for the national interest; a stable Niger is in our national interest. Diplomacy resolves conflicts long-term. Diplomacy is our greatest option for Niger.

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