June 13, 2024

Yesterday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) revealed that it might resort to military intervention to reinstate constitutional order in Niger Republic, provided that the military junta led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani remains determined to implement a three-year transition plan before restoring civil rule in the country.

Addressing questions on the Sunrise Daily program by Channels Television, Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, dismissed the notion that ECOWAS was acting under the influence of external powers. He highlighted the likelihood of ECOWAS employing military force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Ambassador Musah stated, “Throughout the years, I have not witnessed a coup that has not received sustained support from the populace. This support can be manipulated; crowds can be assembled artificially; this doesn’t imply people are indifferent to their future.”

He noted that factors like high youth unemployment and resource mismanagement contribute to this phenomenon, but he questioned whether military governance would provide better economic administration. He highlighted the historical trend of alternation of power in West Africa through elections, signaling progress.

Regarding ECOWAS’s plan to restore peace in Niger post-crisis, he questioned the junta’s lack of a clear plan. He argued that the junta’s three-year transition plan lacked clarity, and their attempt was an unguided experiment.

Ambassador Musah emphasized that military interventions haven’t led to better alternatives for governance in affected countries. He cited the spread of terrorism from Burkina Faso to coastal nations as a major concern that hindered regional development. He proposed the removal of this obstacle and the establishment of a regional governance plan, including economic integration and increased intra-regional trade.

He countered the perception that West Africa’s challenges were isolated, pointing out that global challenges affected even advanced countries, yet they didn’t resort to overthrowing governments. He stressed ECOWAS’s focus on consulting active forces within a country, such as political parties, labor movements, and civil society organizations, to reinstate constitutional order.

Asked about the likelihood of ECOWAS deploying military force in Niger on a scale of 1 to 10, Ambassador Musah expressed his personal wish for it to be zero, but considering the junta’s posture, he assessed it at 7. He acknowledged the junta’s intention to restore constitutional order but disagreed with their proposed timetable.

Ambassador Musah also denied external influence on ECOWAS’s decision-making. He asserted that the organization’s plans were independent and autonomous, not influenced by foreign powers. He clarified that ECOWAS’s plans were not discussed with any foreign entities, and they were self-sufficient in their approach.

He concluded by highlighting ECOWAS’s focus on restoring President Mohamed Bazoum and dismissed the junta’s three-year timeline as a provocation. He reassured that ECOWAS was self-sufficient and didn’t seek foreign assistance for military intervention, maintaining its stance on independent decision-making.

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