Former Governor of Kaduna Nasir el-Rufai has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to refrain from military intervention in Niger Republic.
President Bola Tinubu, who leads ECOWAS, announced that the bloc would consider using force as a final resort if the coup leaders in Niger refuse to restore power to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
After meeting the bloc’s defence chiefs in Accra, ECOWAS disclosed its initiation of standby force activation in Niger last Thursday.
While the defence chiefs endorsed dialogue as a mediation strategy, they revealed that all aspects of a potential military intervention had been delineated and were being refined. This encompassed timing, required resources, deployment specifics, and location.
In a tweet on Tuesday, el-Rufai underscored that conflict within the sub-region would essentially be a confrontation among brethren.
He alluded to the rock classic “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits from the 1970s, drawing parallels to the situation. El-Rufai emphasized the shared identity between the people of the Niger Republic and those residing in Northern Nigeria. He implored proactive efforts to evade a fraternal civil war.
El-Rufai’s counsel aligns with the sentiments of stakeholders in Northern Nigeria. The Northern Senators Forum (NSF) also urged Tinubu to prioritize diplomatic channels for resolving the crisis.
The NSF cautioned that deploying Nigerian troops to the Niger Republic could adversely affect seven northern states—Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno—owing to their proximity to the landlocked West African nation.
Promptly following this warning, Tinubu convened meetings with governors from five states as part of a broader consultation to devise the most effective approach to addressing the situation.