Niger Republic: Emir of Gwandu cautions against military action

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By Francis Ugwu

The Emir of Gwandu, retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Ilyasu-Bashar, has cautioned the Economic Commission of West Africa State (ECOWAS) under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, against the use of military force in restoring democracy in the Niger Republic.

Ilyasu-Bashar, who is also the Chairman of the Kebbi Council of Chiefs, made the call while speaking during a weekly prayer session held on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi.

”If Niger Republic is attacked, the consequences of the attack will not only affect that county alone but also Northern Nigeria, considering the long ties and relationship existing between people of Niger Republic and Northern Nigeria,” he said.

The emir then prayed for peaceful resolution of the political impasse for continues harmonious relationship between the two sister-countries.

He also advised people to always remain steadfast in observing their religious obligation to attract Allah’s blessing and reward both here on earth and the hereafter.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that military chiefs of the ECOWAS will meet on Thursday and Fiday in Accra, Ghana amid tensions over a possible military intervention in Niger, according to Ghana’s army spokesman.

ECOWAS member states had initially mulled a military intervention against those who carried out Niger’s coup, and the bloc’s heads of state had ordered a military force to be readied to restore constitutional order during a special summit, but they said a peaceful resolution of the conflict should continue to be pursued.

ECOWAS defence ministers and military chiefs already met a week after the coup in Niger and drafted deployment plans after they had issued an ultimatum against the putschists.

Of the 15 ECOWAS members, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin and Guinea-Bissau declared their willingness to provide troops in the case of an intervention.

Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, which were suspended from ECOWAS after their own coups, as is Niger now, want to support the junta in Niger militarily in the event of an intervention.

NAN reports that the ECOWAS and the West African Monetary and Economic Union have imposed some of the most stringent sanctions on Niger so far since the coup.

The bloc also suspended all commercial transactions with Niger, frozen its state assets in the regional central bank, frozen assets of the state and state enterprises in commercial banks, and suspended all financial assistance with regional development banks.

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