The Northern Senators Forum has cautioned against the use of military power toward tackling the military coup in Niger Republic, calling for diplomatic options to address the situation.
Senator Suleiman Kawu(NNPP-Kano), the spokesperson for the forum, said this when he briefed newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
“The forum under the leadership of Sen. Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi), has noted with concern and condemn in entirety the unfortunate development in Niger Republic, where the military forcefully upstaged a democratically elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum.
“The Northern Senators also take cognisance of the efforts of the ECOWAS leaders under the chairmanship of our dear President, Bola Tinubu, in resolving the situation in Niger Republic.
“The emphasis however, is that we should be focused on political and diplomatic means to restore democratic government in Niger Republic,” he said.
Kawu added: “We also take exception to use of the of military force until other avenues as mentioned above are exhausted as the consequences will be casualties among the innocent citizens who go about their daily business.
“Besides, about seven northern states who share border with Niger Republic namely Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno will be negatively affected.
“We are also aware of the situation of Mali, Burkina Faso and Libya, which may affect the seven northern states, if military force is used.”
Meanwhile, the ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staff on Friday resolved to place dialogue at the forefront of the regional body’s approach to resolving the crisis in Niger Republic.
This is as the committee said it acknowledged the need for a comprehensive approach that encompasses political, security, and diplomatic dimensions.
The Chairman of the region’s Defence Chiefs, General Musa Christopher stated this while reading the communiqué from the meeting to select journalists in Abuja.
Recall that Defence Chiefs from Nigeria, Benin, Ghana,Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Côte D’Ivoire,Cape Verde, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau arrived in the country for a meeting on the military junta in Niger.
Musa noted that the committee recognised the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for a well-coordinated response.
He said, “We have acknowledged the need for a comprehensive approach that encompasses political, security, and diplomatic dimensions. It is imperative that we translate our deliberations into concrete actions that can effectively address the crisis and prevent a recurrence in the future.
“Firstly, we must emphasize the importance of upholding democratic principles and the rule of law. The coup in the Niger Republic represents a blatant disregard for these fundamental principles that underpin our regional integration and stability. We must unequivocally condemn such actions and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to democracy.
“Secondly, we must strengthen our regional security architecture and enhance our collective response to security challenges. The coup in the Niger Republic has highlighted the fragility of our region and the need for a robust and proactive security framework. We must enhance intelligence sharing, joint training exercises, and capacity-building initiatives among our defense and security forces to effectively combat threats to our collective security and enhance interoperability.
“Thirdly, we must intensify our diplomatic efforts to engage with all relevant stakeholders. Dialogue and negotiation should be at the forefront of our approach to resolving the crisis in the Republic of Niger. We must engage with the transitional authorities, civil society organizations, and other key actors to foster an inclusive and peaceful transition process. “
However, the junta is also planning to recall Nigerien Ambassadors to Togo, the United States, and France, as it pushes to evict French and US troops in the country, while declaring an end to all Memorandum of Understanding between France and the Republic of Niger.
Defence sources privy to the ongoing meeting in Niamey, the Niger capital, confirmed the development to our correspondent Friday morning.
“The ongoing negotiation has failed. The junta has declared that it’ll recall Niger’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Togo, France, and the US,” an impeccable defence source said on Friday.
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