… judges accused of taking over ECOWAS court’s relocation contracts
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, parliament was, on Saturday, divided over how best to address the political impasse caused by the coup in Niger Republic.
While some members advocated actions that would stem military intrusion into governance within the region, others said dialogue and diplomacy were the best ways to solve the crisis.
The positions were taken when the 22 parliamentarians held an extraordinary meeting, virtually, to discuss the Niger Republic impasse.
The members, who were against military action, put forward the fate that could befall the masses if the country was invaded by forces trying to dislodge the coupists.
Ali Djibo, from Niger Republic, said already no fewer than 9,000 schools have been shut since the crisis, adding that the best solution was dialogue and that military action had never been the best option anywhere in the world.
Djibo said: “War will only compound the economic woes the peoples of the sub-region are already going through.
“As we speak, over a thousand trucks, loaded with goods, are stranded at the border.
“If a coup happened in Nigeria or Cote’d’Iviore tomorrow, where’s the ECOWAS going to mobilise troops to fight the Nigerian or Ivorian military? How many borders are we going to close?
“We must also bear in mind that if we’re applying the ECOWAS treaty, it should be applicable to all.”
For Awaji-Inombek Dagomie Abiante (Rivers), ECOWAS must pay keen attention and treat the root causes of coups in ECOWAS countries.
He said diplomacy must be used to resolve the problem.
‘What has dialogue done in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea?’
Members of the ECOWAS Parliament rooting for a military solution to the Niger Republic matter said dialogue and diplomacy had not tamed the spread of the coup in West Africa.
One of them was Linda Ikpeazu, who said that there were no consequences in the past, especially in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, hence the Niger Republic situation.
She stressed that with the current situation in the sub-region, nobody knows which country will be the next.
Adebayo Balogun, in his contribution, said ECOWAS Heads of States were not proposing a full-scale war, but a military action to dislodge the junta.
He recalled that Niger was a signatory to ECOWAS’ revised protocol on non-military intervention.
Also, Bashir Dawodu said he believed that while dialogue is being pursued, the body should be opened to military options to put pressure on the coupists.
Meanwhile, he pointed out, those banking on Russia to defend the junta should know that Russia alone cannot do it.
Wase and Ndume
Two others, who spoke against the military invasion of the Niger Republic were Idris Wase and Ali Ndume.
Wase, the first Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of ECOWAS, berated President Bola Tinubu, the ECOWAS Chairman.
He accused the President of unilaterally closing the Nigerian-Niger border and cutting electricity without the approval of the Nigerian National Assembly.
Wase added: “When the Russia-Ukraine war started, people thought it was to be a sharp war.
“A year after, the war is still lingering on with the attendant economic squander and wanton destruction of lives and properties.
“The sub-regional military chiefs know what they stand to benefit economically. That’s why they’re eager to militarily intervene in Niger. Most of them are corrupt.
“Any war on Niger will have adverse effects on 60% of Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria.
On his part, Senator Ndume said: “We are the representatives of the people. Whatever action that must be taken should be dependent on what our people want.
“The ECOWAS Chairman, President Tinubu, wrote the Nigerian Senate on the planned military intervention in Niger and the Red Chamber vehemently opposed the use of force. They prefer, instead, dialogue should be adopted in resolving the impasse.
“President Tinubu has no right to close the Niger-Nigeria border and cut electricity without the approval of the Nigerian National Assembly.
“It is not the Niger junta that is suffering the sanctions, rather it is innocent people.”