The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has described as ill-advised, threats by the Niger’s military to bring charges of treason against their ousted President Mohamed Bazoum or kill him.
Reacting to the announcement by Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister, in a statement issued Tuesday by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, CNG said the plans were ill-timed and condemnable.
He said it was shocking that the military statement came just hours after a group of Nigerian Islamic scholars announced a meeting with Niger’s coup leader, Abdourahamane Tchiani in Niamey, saying the general had agreed to hold “direct talks”.
The northern group warned against any form of international escalation of the conflict and urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to continue to play its big brother role in the region by insisting on the exploration of all available diplomatic windows for peace.
It also urged the regional body to impress the imperative of the Niger military allowing all options for negotiations open, without the need for unnecessary threats and grandstanding that in the present circumstance, have very little or no utility value.
It noted: “The CNG strongly repudiates the suggestion to try President Bazoum by the military authorities as well as every other move that potentially poses a threat to the peaceful resolution of the crisis and leads to escalation of any form.
“Any attempt by the military leadership in Niger to press charges against Bazoum will only likely increase tensions between the military in Niger and the international community.”
The group pointed out that war and instability in Niger Republic would be counterproductive with the possibility of spiralling into long-term armed conflicts that will hurt countries of the sub-region with unintended political and socioeconomic consequences.
The CNG said while it does not dispute the fact that restoration of constitutional order in Niger Republic in the shortest possible time is welcomed, democracy can, however, only endure in the country when all parties to the prevailing crisis agree to reasonable terms in bringing about long-term peace.
It added: “ECOWAS should therefore desist from creating the impression that genuine diplomacy can go along with threats of military action by way of activation of invading force against the regime in Niger.
“In handling this issue, therefore, ECOWAS must take into consideration the interest of the civilian population of Niger, who by all indications and for whatever reasons, appear to support the military leaders.
“On their part, the military leaders must recognize the fact that they also owe a responsibility to the population and to the larger African continent and that in the fullness of time, their actions will not go unnoticed and they will be held accountable for any escalation resulting from their utterances and threats, ” Suleiman said.