Niger Coup: All you should know about the Nigerian Senate and ‘ECOWAS Intervention’

NewsroomAugust 9, 20237 min

Hours to the second Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political impasse in Niger Republic; we present seven things to note about the reaction of the Nigerian Senate and a timeline on the developments in the landlocked country.

 

By Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq and Ojochenemi Onje-James

 

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Parliament: Speaker reaffirms commitment to strengthen representative democracy

 

Niger

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s alleged leaning towards military action in response to the Niger Republic coup was refuted by the Senate in a surprising twist.

With the military junta in Niger Republic still clinging to power despite a seven-day ultimatum issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional body is expected to convene Thursday and discuss next steps.

Ahead of the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS; the supreme institution of the Community, President Tinubu has reached out to the Nigerian National Assembly to secure parliamentary consent for a more calculated strategy in tackling the crisis through peaceful means rather than confrontation.

The communication to the Senate was revealed on Saturday by President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio during a plenary at the Red Chamber.

Although the development was discussed by the lawmakers in a closed-door session, the Senate’s resolutions on President Tinubu’s approach to the political turmoil in Niger Republic was read by the Presiding Officer, Godswill Akpabio.

READ ALSO: “Testimony of promised commitment” | Senate hails Tinubu as ECOWAS Chair

 

Here are seven things we took away from the Resolutions by the Senators:

 

1. The Senate is in support of the prompt response by the ECOWAS Leaders

“The Senate condemned the coup and commended Tinubu and other Heads of State for their prompt response and the positions taken on the situation.”

 

2.  The Nigerian Senate is more inclined towards a diplomatic solution to the impasse

“The Senate advised President Tinubu to encourage other leaders of ECOWAS to deploy diplomatic options in addressing the situation in Niger.”

 

3. President Tinubu’s request bothers on implementation on ECOWAS Resolutions; rather than Nigeria going to war with Niger Republic

“The Senate recognises that President Tinubu via his correspondence has not asked for the approval of the parliament of this senate to go to war as erroneously suggested in some quarters. Rather, Mr. President has expressed a wish to respectfully solicit the support of the National Assembly in the successful implementation of the resolutions of the ECOWAS as outlined in the said communication.”

 

4.  The Nigerian Senate wants other ECOWAS leaders to harp on political and diplomatic options

“The Senate calls on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Chairman of ECOWAS to further encourage other leaders of ECOWAS to strengthen political and diplomatic options and other means intending to resolve the political impasse in Niger Republic.”

5.  The Nigerian National Assembly backs President Tinubu and ECOWAS in their resolve to restore democracy in Niger Republic

“The National Assembly is committed to the ECOWAS under the leadership of President Tinubu in resolving the political situation in Niger and returning the country to democratic governance in the nearest future.”

 

6.  Senate Leadership to engage President Tinubu on the best way forward

“The leadership of the Senate is mandated to further engage with the president on how best to resolve the issue “given the existing cordial relationship between Nigeriens and Nigerians”.

 

7. The Senate wants the ECOWAS Parliament to equally condemning this coup and also positing solutions to resolving this compass

“Finally, the senate calls on the ECOWAS Parliament to rise to the occasion by equally condemning this coup and also positing solutions to resolving this impasse as soon as possible.”

 

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Speaker expresses concern about proliferation of arms in the Sahel

 

WHAT TO NOTE ABOUT THE POLITICAL IMPASSE IN NIGER REPUBLIC

  • A military junta on Wednesday, July 26 2023, toppled the democratic government in Niger Republic; detaining its President, Mohamed Bazoum in the process.
  • Following the successful coup by the Presidential Guard, General Abdourahmane Tchiani announced himself as the Head of the Junta in the Francophone country.
  • The development which took place barely 17 days after Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu’s declaration upon his elections as Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that coups will no longer be allowed in the West African region under his leadership.
  • The Niger coup has since then, led to diverse actions and reactions including moves by the sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS to restore democratic order in the country.
  • On Sunday, July 30 2023 therefore, ECOWAS Leaders rising from an Extraordinary Summit issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Niger Military Junta to release ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and revert to democratic order or risk military intervention.READ ALSO: Insecurity: Reps back creation of Centre for control of small arms
  • Western governments including France and Germany on Monday, July 31 2023, also announced a suspension of financial aids to Niger, while the United States partially halted aid to the West African country in exception of resources to the private sector.
  • Although the ECOWAS ultimatum has expired, neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso currently under military rule on Tuesday, August 1 2023 vowed their support to Niger Republic should ECOWAS carry out its threat of military intervention.
  • Nigeria has so far hit Niger with far-reaching sanctions including closure of its land borders against Niger on Friday, August 4 2023; barely two days after the federal government cut power supply to Niger.
  • The ECOWAS Leaders are expected to hold another Extraordinary Summit on Thursday in Abuja, to discuss the political situation in Niger and decide the readiness and possibility of using force to restore constitutional democracy in the Francophone country.
  • Various foreign governments including ECOWAS have made diplomatic trips to the land-locked country to get the military junta to step down from power but none of such has so far been successful.

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