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Tinubu Seeks Senate Support for Military Intervention Against Niger Republic’s Junta

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ABUJA, Nigeria — President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has formally sought the support of the Nigerian Senate for military intervention and economic sanctions against Niger’s military junta.

The military intervention comes after the Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was ousted by his guards on July 26, 2023.

President Tinubu’s decision reflects his dual role as Nigeria’s president and the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, the regional bloc leading the effort to restore democracy in Niger.

The president’s letter to the Senate, made available to journalists on Friday, August 4, 2023, outlines a series of proposed actions, including a “Military buildup and deployment of personnel for military intervention to enforce compliance of the military junta in Niger should they remain recalcitrant.”

Further measures include the closure and monitoring of all land borders with the Niger Republic, reactivating border drilling exercises, cutting off electricity supply to the country, mobilizing international support, and blocking the transit of goods to Niger, especially through Lagos and eastern seaports.

President Tinubu’s letter stated: “Political situation in Niger. Following the unfortunate political situation in Niger Republic culminating in the overthrow of its President, ECOWAS under my leadership condemned the coup. It resolved to seek the return of the democratically elected government to restore peace. ECOWAS convened a meeting and came out with a communique.”

On Sunday, President Tinubu met with fellow ECOWAS leaders to discuss the political crisis in Niger and finalise the sanctions imposed on the military personnel responsible for toppling President Bazoum.

The proposed military intervention represents a significant step, underscoring the regional bloc’s determination to uphold democratic norms and practices in West Africa. It also highlights the leading role played by Nigeria in the region’s political affairs.

The president also told the Senate that efforts were underway to sensitize Nigerians and Nigeriens on the rationale for these actions, utilizing social media platforms.

The Nigerian Senate is expected to deliberate on the President’s request, and the decision could set the stage for one of the most decisive regional interventions in West Africa’s recent history.

This development comes amid growing concern over the stability and democratic integrity of the region, following a series of coups in Mali and Guinea.

The situation in Niger adds to the challenges West African leaders face in maintaining peace and stability in an area marked by complex political dynamics and ongoing security threats.

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