There is Palpable tension in Nigeria, especially the northern parts, following the decision of President Bola Tinubu to seek military action against the junta in Niger Republic.
Following the toppling of Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum by his military guard last week, leaders of the West African regional bloc are devising means to restore democracy to that country.
About 10 senior military officers led by Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane had via a National broadcast on July 27, announced a coup in Niger over alleged poor governance and inability of the government to tackle security and other challenges bedevilling their country.
In a swift move to quell another military rule in the region, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, led by its newly elected Chairman, President Bola Tinubu gave the junta seven days ultimatum to restore normalcy or face some stringent sanctions.
The ultimatum was issued last week during an emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
According to a communique released after the meeting, the West African leaders agreed on seven political sanctions that would compel the military to bow. According to them, West African States would ensure:
“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with the Niger Republic and reactivation of the border drilling exercise.
”Cutting off Electricity supply to the Niger Republic
”Mobilising international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communique
“Preventing the operation of commercial and special flights into and from Niger Republic
“Blockade of goods in transit to Niger especially from Lagos and eastern seaports
“Embarking on sensitization of Nigerians and Nigeriens on the imperative of these actions, particularly via social media
“Military build-up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant”
In a bid to execute the resolutions, Tinubu, on August 3rd, dispatched a delegation to Niger with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the political impasse in the country.
The delegation, headed by former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), left for Niamey on Thursday after a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.
The former Nigerian Head of State was joined in the delegation by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Omar Alieu Touray.
It was however gathered that efforts of the delegation were yielding no positive outcome as the Nigerien military vowed to antagonise the resolutions of the leadership of ECOWAS.
A source familiar with the development told newsmen in Abuja on Saturday that “it was due to the refusal of the Nigerien soldiers to resolve the matter that made Tinubu to ask the Senate for approval of military actions against the junta.
“Military action was the last thing the ECOWAS proposed but from the look of things, the soldiers in Niger are not ready for talks.
“So there is a need for the President to prepare ahead. The Nigerian soldiers cannot go on such a mission without the approval of the National Assembly. From the reports and videos we have been seeing, the Niger soldiers have established ties with Russia and other powerful nations waiting for war.
“Who knows their plan? We all saw the protest that was held in Niamey on Friday where they were raining all sorts of insults on our president. We need to prepare ahead”.