June 13, 2024

The Egalitarian Mission for Africa (EMA), a civil rights organization, has taken the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the regional court in relation to the proposed military intervention in Niger Republic.

The group has requested the court to utilize ECOWAS protocols to halt the intended military action against Niger.

The lawsuit has been initiated by a Nigerian lawyer named Kayode Ajulo.

As outlined in the suit with reference ECW/CCJ/APP/3/23, the treaties within ECOWAS prevent acts of aggression among member countries.

The EMA is urging the regional court to employ pertinent ECOWAS agreements and international laws to prevent the military incursion into Niger.

The organization has argued that any military involvement in Niger would amount to aggression between ECOWAS member states, highlighting that the planned military intervention would breach the commitments established in the ECOWAS treaties.

In addition to the EMA, the other plaintiffs named in the case include Bola Akinterinwa, a former director-general of the Nigerian Institute of the Internal Affairs (NIIA), and Hamza Dantani, a lawyer.

The defendants listed in the lawsuit encompass ECOWAS, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, the president of ECOWAS Mission, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Republic of Niger.

The lawyer contends that the military intervention would specifically contravene various articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, including Articles 1, 5, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, and 24.

Citing Article 22(2) of the protocol concerning the community court of justice, the lawyer argues that when a dispute is presented before the court, member states are obliged to refrain from any actions that could hinder its resolution.

The lawsuit’s hearing date has not yet been determined.

On July 26, a military faction led by Gen. Abdourhamane Tchiani overthrew the civilian and democratic government of President Mohammed Bazoum, who has since been unlawfully detained by the military.

ECOWAS responded on Tuesday by imposing new sanctions on the Niger coup.

The regional organization had given the Niger junta a seven-day ultimatum to reinstate Mr. Bazoum or face sanctions, including the possibility of a military intervention. However, the coup leaders defied ECOWAS and pledged to resist any foreign intervention on their territory.

Niger also severed diplomatic relations with Nigeria, Togo, France, and the U.S., and imposed an indefinite closure of its airspace.

At the conclusion of the ultimatum period, ECOWAS scheduled a meeting for Thursday to assess the situation in the West African nation.

President Bola Tinubu, the ECOWAS chair, has vowed to take all necessary steps to restore Mr. Bazoum, who was ousted from power.

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