By Hassana Yakubu
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against use of force to oust the Military Junta in the Republic of Niger.
This is contained in a statement by Malam Murtala Aliyu , the Secretary General of the ACF in kaduna
While condenming the coup and calling for the restoration of democratic governance in Niger, the ACF,said: ”the forum supports the position to restore democratic rule in Niger.
”The ECOWAS should tow the path of dialogue and diplomacy and certainly not force in resolving the current impasse in Niger in the interest of peaceful coexistence with the brotherly neighbour and stability of the ECOWAS region.
“Nigeria and Niger share a long historical border of more than one thousand five hundred kilometres with families, communities sharing common facilities including farmlands, markets, cultural bonds and languages for many centuries predating the Trans Saharan Trade and colonial times.
The forum noted that, the measures being contemplated by the ECOWAS should take into consideration the historical antecedents and mutual interests of the two countries and weighed the consequences of the use of force.
”While the ACF, recognises the ECOWAS’ position to bring pressure to bear on the coupists but nevertheless the military option shouldn’t be a prerequisite for Nigeria’s and the community’s continuing efforts to enthrone democracy in the region in the 21st century.
”The ECOWAS is a shining example of a functional Regional Economic Cooperation (REC) on the Continent which should be sustained.
”While a military intervention might yield temporary solutions, the repercussions on Nigeria as a leader and the regional body would impact negatively on future relations and a herculean task to rebuild.
The News Agncy of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, on Sunday, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Nigerien military to restore constitutional order and reinstate ousted President Muhammed Bazoum into office.
While recognising Bazoum as the legitimate President of the landlocked state, the bloc also imposed land and border closures, suspending all commercial flights between Niger and ECOWAS member states.
Announcing the decision, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, said all Chiefs of Defence Staff of the member states will proceed for an emergency meeting to strategise on effective ways to implement a possible military operation to restore Bazoum to office.
He said the ECOWAS will “Take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Such measures may include the use of force.
“To this effect, the Chiefs of Defence Staff of ECOWAS are to meet immediately.”
NAN reports that the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, and Nigeria President Bola Tinubu on Thursday dispatched a delegation to Niger Republic with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the current political impasse in the country.
In a statement, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale said the action was in line with the resolutions reached at the end of the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS held in Abuja on July 30.
The delegation, headed by former Nigerian Head of State, retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Thursday left for Niamey, following a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.
Joined in the delegation are the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Alhaji Omar Alieu Touray.
President Tinubu also sent a separate delegation led by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe to engage with the leaders of Libya and Algeria on the Niger crisis.
Briefing the two delegations, President Tinubu charged them to engage all stakeholders robustly with a view to doing whatever it will take to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation in Niger for the purposes of peace and development in Africa, rather than a move to adopt the geopolitical positions of other nations.
“We don’t want to hold brief for anybody. Our concern is democracy and the peace of the region,” the President said.
After the meeting, General Abdulsalami Abubakar said the delegation would meet the coup leaders in Niger to present the demands of the ECOWAS leadership.
Both leaders of the two missions expressed optimism on the outcome of the assignments. (NAN)