West African leaders, headed by Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have devised a plan for military intervention if the coup in Niger is not reversed by Sunday, August 6, 2023.
Tinubu experienced the brutality of a military regime in his forties, compelling him to flee abroad and seek refuge there for years.
Following the coup in Niger, he issued a statement in which he pledged to defend the “hard-won democracy” of West Africa.
Niamey, Republic of Niger – President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by senior military officers in Niger Republic on Wednesday, July 26.
General Abdourahmane “Omar” Tchiani emerged as the new leader of the country.
President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria is planning a military intervention in neighboring Niger. ORTN – Télé Sahel / AFP, Kola Sulaimon, Photograph by ORTN – Télé Sahel / AFP
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Uncomfortable coup in Niger for Nigeria, West Africa, and the African continent
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, deposed Bazoum wrote that the junta’s power seizure could have “devastating consequences” for the African region.
Numerous Nigerians are irritated by the federal government’s sudden and severe concerns regarding the rebellion.
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), commanded by Nigerian leader Bola Tinubu, is sanctioning the putschists.
Nigeria has already shut off Niger Republic’s electricity supply as part of the sanctions.
The following are several reasons why the coup in Niger is problematic for Nigeria, and perhaps why President Tinubu is so eager to reverse it.
In Africa, there is a dwindling democracy and a dread of future coups.
Niger is the most recent Sahel nation to undergo a military revolt. Japheth Joshua Omojuwa, a prominent Nigerian commentator on public affairs, stated that the continent disregarded the warning signs, which is proving costly.
“There is a coup d’etat domino currently at play in Africa. This was how it started in the 60s before it became the norm. “Let every state take heed, no one is safe from the manipulations of forces behind these coups. They already have civilian supporters everywhere.”
Since the armed seizure of Mali in August 2020, a similar pattern has emerged in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, and Sudan, to name a few.
An unsuccessful coup attempt was documented in Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, and Sao Tome and Principe in 2022.
Following independence, there were eight military coups in Nigeria between January 1966 and General Sani Abacha’s seizure in 1993. Since 1999, there has been a stable democracy.
When President Tinubu met with Bazoum and the presidents of Benin (Patrice Talon) and Guinea Bissau (Umar Sissoco Embaló) a week before the Niger revolt, he discussed strengthening democracy in West Africa.
“We’re committed to tackling West African security concerns head-on with a new, measurable approach, while simultaneously strengthening democracy.”
Author and social media influencer Reno Omokri is very impressed with the Nigerian government’s actions thus far.
“For the first time, ECOWAS is asserting itself to defend democracy. And Nigeria is leading that defence. Shutting down power to Niger, establishing and enforcing a No-Fly-Zone. Cutting aid and shutting land borders. Very commendable.”
A coup in the Sahel region initiates a new chapter in the struggle for influence.
As in Burkina Faso and Mali, the coup opens a new chapter in the conflict for influence in the region, as the new leaders in Niger may align with anti-western interests.
This may compel Western allies and other development partners to withdraw their support for Niger, a circumstance that is likely to exacerbate the peace, welfare, and stability of the country’s citizens. Thus, development assistance is impeded.
West Africa yearns for calm.
As Léonardo Santos Simo, a UN envoy, stated on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, the people of West Africa deserve peace and there is presently a regional effort toward peace and prosperity there.
His remarks delivered in Accra, Ghana:
“The unfolding crisis, if not addressed, will exacerbate the deteriorating security situation in the region. It will also negatively impact the development and lives of the population in a country where 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance.”
He emphasized that “Niger and the region have no need for coups d’état because the people deserve peace, democratic government, and prosperity.”
Niger Republic severing diplomatic ties with Nigeria
In related news, Legit.ng reported that the junta in Niger Republic decided to sever ties with Nigeria following the failure of ECOWAS to resolve the ongoing impasse.
Only on Thursday, August 3, did the delegation led by General Abdulsalami Abubakar (ret.) meet with representatives of the junta.