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Bridging the Jurisdiction: Nigerian Lawyers Scrutinize Tinubu’s Role in Niger Republic

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, have outlined why President Bola Tinubu cannot unilaterally deploy troops to Niger Republic to restore democratic rule.

They explained that for the Nigerian armed forces to be deployed on combat duty in Niger Republic, President Tinubu must first secure approval from the National Assembly.

In separate interviews, the senior lawyers on  Sunday,  August 6, 2023, maintained that the only time the 1999 Constitution permits the President to deploy soldiers to another country without prior approval of the legislature is in the face of an imminent threat to national security.

In such a case, they said the President must seek the approval of the National Assembly within seven days of deploying the troops. The Assembly then has 14 days to either approve or reject the military action.

Jacob Usman, SAN, stated: “By Section 5 (4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the President cannot declare a state of war between Nigeria and any other country, except with the approval of both the House of Reps and the Senate, sitting in a joint session.”

He noted that President Tinubu’s request to deploy troops for combat duty in Niger Republic was rejected by the Senate. Usman emphasized that without Senate approval, the President cannot deploy any armed forces of the federation out of Nigeria on a combat duty.

Other senior lawyers echoed Usman’s sentiments.

Abeny Mohammed, SAN, said sending Nigerian troops to a foreign country to fight or engage in war is a serious matter that cannot be left to the decision of the President alone.

Dayo Akinlaja, SAN, emphasized, “It is the prerogative of the Senate to approve the deployment of troops for combat duty outside Nigeria.”

The lawyers’ comments come after the Senate last Friday rejected President Tinubu’s request to deploy troops to Niger Republic in support of efforts by the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to reinstate President Mohammed Bazoum, who was recently ousted from office through a coup d’état.

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