Hon. Egoh opined that the ECOWAS committee recommended no actions that would put pressure on the junta in Niger.
A member of the Nigeria delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Rep. Oghene Emma Egoh, has expressed dissatisfaction with a report of the ECOWAS ad-hoc committee set up to come up with ways to handle the Niger crisis following the coup that truncated the country’s democratic process.
Egoh opined that the committee ought to have adopted earlier resolutions by the Authorities of Heads of State, which included military intervention.
He made the observation during plenary at the just concluded ECOWAS Second Extraordinary Session of the fifth Legislature in Winneba, Ghana.
According to him, the recommendations by the Ad-hoc Committee failed to proscribe any punitive measures for the actions of the junta.
“As parliamentarians in our home countries, we represent our constituencies. But once your Assembly or Parliament nominates you to ECOWAS you’re also representing your country. Therefore, if the Heads of State make a decision, it is proper that we take a good look at it before we disagree because the Heads of State are the final arbiters. They have the power of cohesion, we don’t have it, and we can only give suggestions and reasons.
“But when they feel strongly on issues, it is our duty to look at what they said dispassionately and consider whether it is good or not”, he stated.
Egoh further noted that the coup in Niger was condemned by everybody including members of the ECOWAS Parliament. As such, there was a need to speak up against certain things that threatened the democracy of member states.
“If democracy is truncated then, there must be punitive measures. Coups are not good for parliament, or democracy. So, when there is a coup, besides condemning it, we must join hands with the Heads of State to take tough action on the country involved.”
In the case of Niger, the lawmaker recalled that the Heads of State stated that military action is on the table, and he sees nothing wrong with that.
“Unfortunately, the recommendations by the Adhoc Committee rejected all these and there is no form of compulsion to ensure the country returns to democratic rule.
“It would have been good for the committee to have recommended some form of action that would put pressure on them. Instead, they rejected everything. So the junta would assume that ECOWAS is supporting their actions.”
Meanwhile, the report of the ad hoc committee presented was not adopted as it was referred back to the committee for further work.
Also, the committee is expected to visit Niger after which a comprehensive report would be presented to the ordinary session in November-December, Nigeria for adoption.
It is also worthy of note that the parliamentarians made some suggestions that are expected to reflect the Committee’s report on submission.
Some of the recommendations by the Adhoc Committee as presented before the Extra Ordinary Session are, Undertake steps to ensure the return of the Republic of Niger to constitutional rule; Consider opening humanitarian corridors to supply lifesaving commodities, including food and medicines to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerien population; Consider the restoration of electricity supply to the Republic of Niger for life sustenance purposes, as a gesture of goodwill; Avoid the use of force in resolving the situation in the Republic of Niger; and Support the involvement of the ECOWAS Parliament in ongoing mediation efforts in the Republic of Niger.