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ECOWAS Parliament Divided on Military Intervention in Niger

A division emerged within the ECOWAS Parliament on Saturday regarding the consideration of military action as a viable approach to address the prevailing political turmoil in Niger Republic and to reinstate civil governance.

During a virtual extraordinary assembly, members deliberated on strategies to curtail military encroachment into the political sphere of the region, with contrasting opinions centered around diplomatic initiatives and dialogue as more effective measures to navigate the crisis.

Gathering a participation of no fewer than 22 parliamentarians, the session was dedicated to discussing the intricate political situation in Niger and devising a coherent plan of action.

Opponents of the notion of military intervention underscored the potential economic hardships that the people of Niger might endure in the event of an invasion. Ali Djibo, representing Niger Republic, emphasized that the crisis had already resulted in the closure of approximately 9,000 schools, portraying the consequential impact of war on the economic landscape.

Djibo remarked, “Engaging in warfare will exacerbate the existing economic challenges faced by the populations within our sub-region. Presently, a considerable number of trucks laden with goods remain stranded at the border.

Furthermore, we must contemplate the practicality of deploying troops to counter a military uprising in Nigeria or Cote d’Ivoire in the future. The question arises: how many borders will need to be sealed? If we adhere to the tenets of the ECOWAS treaty, uniformity in its application should be maintained.”

Awaji-Inombek Dagomie Abiante of Rivers conveyed the necessity for ECOWAS to diligently address and resolve the underlying triggers of coups within its member countries.

Proponents advocating for military intervention in Niger stressed that diplomacy had inadvertently contributed to the surge in military takeovers across West African nations. Adebayo Balogun, in his contribution, clarified that ECOWAS leaders were contemplating military action to disband the junta, not advocating for full-scale warfare.

Balogun further referenced Niger’s endorsement of ECOWAS’ revised protocol on non-military intervention.

Bashir Dawodu articulated a belief that the organization should remain open to the prospect of a military option while concurrently exerting pressure on the coup leaders, all the while pursuing dialogue.

In this diverse spectrum of perspectives, the ECOWAS Parliament seeks to reconcile differing viewpoints in its quest to chart an effective course of action to address the complex political landscape in Niger.

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