Nigeria’s Senate has warned against military intervention in neighboring Niger after Nigerian President Bola Tinubu requested backing for such an action against Niger’s new military junta.
Nigeria currently holds the rotating presidency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has threatened to use military force if Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum is not reinstated by Sunday.
While the deadline has passed, there’s no sign of an imminent ECOWAS intervention in Niger. ECOWAS officials met Friday and said that they finalized intervention plans but did not indicate when they plan on launching the attack.
Nigerian Senate President Godswill Akpabio said Saturday that he urged President Tinubu for ECOWAS to consider all diplomatic and political options before resorting to military intervention. Senators from northern Nigeria particularly stressed exhausting all diplomatic avenues since their region borders Niger.
“We also take exception to the use 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,” said Sumaila Kawu, a spokesman for a group of northern Senators.
The junta in Niger has stood firm against pressure from ECOWAS, which has included harsh sanctions. The coup leaders have shown no sign of planning to relinquish power or release Bazoum.
The US is calling for Bazoum’s release and has backed the ECOWAS threats to intervene in Niger. There are about 1,100 US troops stationed in Niger and a major American drone base is in the country. France has about 1,500 troops in Niger and has also backed ECOWAS threats against the coup government.