Tinubu writes Senate, seeks support to deploy troops to Niger

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has informed the National Assembly about ECOWAS plan to deploy military personnel to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger Republic, should they remain recalcitrant.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio revealed the plan while reading the letter addressed to the senate by Tinubu, who’s also the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Wednesday, August 4. 

The coup, which took place on Wednesday, July 26, and ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum while bringing in Omar Tchiani, the head of presidential guards, has led the ECOWAS leadership to take action against the country.

As part of the sanctions imposed on Niger, Nigeria decided to cut off its power supply to the country, resulting in recent electricity shortages, according to Nigelec, Niger’s electricity company.

The ICIR reports that the country is heavily dependent on Nigeria as its main electricity supplier. In 2019, Nigelec’s chief executive said Niger relied on Nigeria for up to 70 per cent of its electricity supply. Kainji Dam in western Nigeria generates Niger’s electricity. 

ECOWAS also suspended all commercial and financial transactions between Niger and its member states, froze Niger’s assets in ECOWAS central and commercial banks, and imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on the military officials involved in the coup attempt.

Similarly, Tinubu’s letter unveiled ECOWAS’s determination to return the country to its democratic government.

Part of the letter read, “Following the unfortunate political situation in Niger Republic culminating in the overthrow of its President, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup in its entirety and resolved to seek the return of the democratically elected govt. In a bid to restore peace, ECOWAS convened a meeting and came out with a communique.

“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with Niger Republic and reactivating of the border drilling exercise.

“Cutting off Electricity supply to Niger Republic. Mobilising international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communique. Preventing the operation of commercial and special flights into and from Niger Republic

“Blockade of goods in transit to Niger especially from Lagos and eastern seaports Embarking on sensitization of Nigerians and Nigerians on the imperative of these actions, particularly via social media. Military build-up and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant.”

Earlier today, the military junta in Niger Republic was reported to have cut off ties with Nigeria, France, and other countries on Friday after the peace talks delegates sent by the Economic Community of West Africa States failed.

The delegation of ECOWAS, which was led by a retired general, Abdulsalami Abubakar only met with representatives of the junta.

The delegation arrived in Niamey with the aim of establishing a dialogue with the junta in order to obtain a return to constitutional order. However, the meeting didn’t yield a positive result. 

“The putschists also decided to put “an end to the functions of the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors of the Republic of Niger” from four countries: France and the United States, two allies of President Bazoum, Nigeria, whose President Bola Tinubu is also at the head of ECOWAS and which imposed sanctions against Niger – suspension of financial and commercial transactions, freezing of the assets of putschists, cut in electricity supply… –, and Togo.” the Radio France International was quoted by the punch report

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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