World Leaders  Back ECOWAS, To Restore Constitutional Order In Niger Republic

By Lateef Adegbite, With Agency Reports

The military in neighbouring Jihadist-hit Niger Republic appears to have sent a message to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President and Commander –In- Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and now Chairman, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, who had described the coup in the West African country as’’ unpleasant’’ that they will not listen to him, let alone take to his orders  to relinquish power  to the civil authority.

The Nigerian President was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen  that under his Leadership as Chairman of ECOWAS, ‘’frameworks would be harmonized to actualise the dreams of the regional body ‘’to stand firm in the defence  of democracy’’.

Many believe that that the Lagos state born Nigerian Leader may have provoked the ambitious soldiers in Niger into taking up arms against the state    when he had harped on regional security, during the last ECOWAS meeting in Guinea Bissau, stressing  that ‘’democracy remains the best form of government’’.

 He was said to have declared at the  meeting  that as democratically elected Leaders, they did not  give the country’s resources or  invest  in the military , in their booths  and in their training  to violate  the Freedom of the people’’.

He was emphatic that the military turning their guns bought for them by the civil authorities for the defense of the sovereignty of their country from external aggression or internal uprising    ‘’violates the principles upon which they were hired’’.

The new ECOWAS  Chairman, who will not want to sit by and watch democracy being stagnated in the West African sub-region was said to have dispatched  Patrice Talon, President of Benin Republic  to Niger Republic   that has been termed  in diplomatic circles as ‘’the most  coup-prone  in the region to  Negotiate  with the coup Leaders to restore  the suspended  constitutional  political Leadership in the country.

The ECOWAS Leadership  may have developed  plan B, to ensure  that the ousted President Mohammed Bazoum, would be returned to power as the Chairman had said  that he will do ‘’everything  within his powers  to defend democracy  and ensure  democratic governance  continues to take  firm root  in the sub-region’’ constitutional .

As a prelude  to forcing the ambitious Nigerien  soldiers who had  overthrown former President Bazoum  from office on Wednesday, July 26, 2023,  to restore power  back to him ,  the ECOWAS, Chairman,  has hosted  a special meeting  of the  Economic bloc  over the Niger coup and the political impasse in Mali, and Burkina Faso, where the military had intervened and wrestled power from the civil- authorities to restrategise on how to restore political stability in these countries.

The Niger Republic military junta had said on Saturday, July 29, 2023,  ahead of the ECOWAS, crisis summit on Niger  that they know that ‘’the aim of the meeting  is to approve  a plan  of aggression against the country  , in the form of an imminent military intervention  in Niamey, the Capital , in collaboration  with other African countries who are not members  of the Economic bloc  and certain Western nations’’.   

The Niger  new  military Leader Abdourahamane Tiachni an Army General,, who goes by the name Omar, in military circles,  had corroborated  , Colonel-Major Amadou Abduorahamane  statement  that  the country’s Army had ousted President Bazoum from office  following  ‘’the continuous  deterioration , bad social and economic management of the country’’.  

       Gen. Abdourahamane had said that the coup was motivated by both the desire ‘’to preserve the country in a context of a ‘’deteriorating security situation and poor economic and social governance’’.   He had said that the ousted former President Bazoum’s government did not give ‘’Nigeriens a glimpse of a real way out of the country’s security crisis’’.

Bazoum: Former President Of Niger Overthrown By The Military

Another Account has it that the Niger  Army General had participated in the coup that has removed  former President  Bazoum  from power to forestall   his planned  dismissal  as head of the Presidential Guard  by the immediate past President , a position he was said to have  occupied since 2021.

Not many were surprised that the Niger Army General who was reportedly involved  in an unsuccessful  coup attempt  shortly before  the democratic transfer of power in 2021, could take advantage of the army mutiny  to seize power  in a country of 62.2 million people that exports uranium  but still poor.

Note that the recent coup in Niger Republic, brings to three,   the number of sahel countries to experience a coup detat   between 2020 and now.  The two other sahelian countries currently under the military junta are Mali and Burkina Faso.  There is no gain saying the fact that Mali and Niger, both sahelian countries have had coup detats since 2020 and both are being overrun by extremists linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq group.  

Former President Muhammady Buhari, who was said to have been giving ousted former President Bazoum, military support, had described the coup in Niger by mutinous soldiers  attached to the Presidential Guards as ‘unwanted’’ and fears  about the fate of democracy as a system of government  in the country  and in the wider sub-region’’.His  happiness is that ECOWAS, under the Leadership of President Tinubu is already dealing effectively with the matter, which he had said will be ‘’completely reversed’’.

Emmanuel Macron, French President, on his own part was said to have demanded from the coup Leaders the restoration of the ousted resident Bazoum’s government  as ‘’it does not recognise  the putschists, still calling  Bazoum the ‘’sole President’’.

Determined to clip the wings of the Niger coup Leaders and force them to return power to the Legitimate civil Authority,   the three African members of the UN, Security Council,   from Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique, were said to have requested a meeting for an update on the developments in Niger Republic, over the forceful removal from power of former President Bazoum by the country’s military junta.  On Saturday, July 28, 2023, the UN, Security Council members were said to have held closed consultations on Niger.

The Council members were said to have condemned the group of ten soldiers, reportedly representing all branches of the Niger Republic military and other security agencies over the unconstitutional change of the President Bazoum’s government. The Council was said to have thrown its weight over efforts by the ECOWAS and African Union, AU, Leadership to ensure full restoration  of constitutional  order and democratic  rule in Niger’’.  The AU, could no longer tolerate the delay tactics by the junta ‘’to remain in power that the Leadership has given the junta of Niger   two weeks to restore constitutional authority’’.  

Gen. Tiachni: Head Of Niger Militry Junta

Those who are  familiar with the Niger Republic  politics  had said that  if  France and other  countries, both within and outside  the African region    who had been  strengthening their  military presence  in the West African country of Niger over the pat one year to combat  the terrorism threat, after withdrawing  their counter-terrorism forces from Mali in 2022 and tensions over the  Malian civil Authorities’  decision to partner  with the Wagner group, the Russian private security company , have been alive to their duties, the military could not have had the opportunity to dare the legitimate government of President Bazoum.

The situation in Niger Republic is so worrisome that Antonio Gutterres, UN, Secretary General, had been able to speak to Anthony Blinken, the North American country of the United States, Secretary of State, who in turn had said that he had spoken to President Joe Biden on the matter.

The US, Secretary of State,  may have warned the Nigeriens military  still detaining former President Bazoum  that  hundreds  of millions of dollars assistance ‘’ was at risk, if they fail to   release him as Biden, the country’s President  who is fighting an undeclared war against Russia , alongside other NATO , member countries has thrown his steadfast support  on him.

He did stop there.  Already Washington  has warned that if the Niger coup Leaders fail to return President Bazoum’s government ,  as demanded ,  ‘’it will  cease security  and other cooperation  with the West African country, where  about 1000 US troops  are stained at present.   

Blinken: US, Secretary Of State

Blinken , who according to informed sources  was wrapping  up a multi-nation  pacific tour , was said to have called on the Nigeriens military the second time , in as many ways  to offer America’s unflagging support’’.He has praised  the former Niger Republic’s President’ role  in promoting peace not only in Niger by the wider West African  region, as against the  coup  plotters’ claim that he messed  up the security situation of the country given  room  for the terrorists to overrun the country.

In spite of efforts by the Leadership of ECOWAS and the US , including France, which has immense  military presence in the coup –prone Niger Republic,  that are indications that ‘’ Negotiations ‘’ to ensure  return to Constitutional order  in the  West African country  were at an impasse’’. Security experts believe that going by the steps being taken by the ECOWAS Leadership to protect democracy in the African region, the military  will think twice in any West African country  to turn their guns  against the  civil Authority  in West African  country, particular,, in the future because of the repercussion.

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