Against what seemed like wise counsel, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria, have ordered a military invasion of Niger.
Rising from their second extraordinary meeting in Abuja Thursday, the Tinubu-led ECOWAS Heads of State asked the Chief of Defence of Armed Forces in the sub-region to immediately mobilise and invade the Republic of Niger.
The ECOWAS leaders said the invasion has become necessary following the failure of the ultimatum they gave to the Nigerien junta on July 30.
According to a communique issued from the meeting, the ECOWAS leaders said even emissaries to the military rulers in Niger were rebuffed.
The communique reads: “The Authority having considered the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger, as well as ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary Summit;
“And having considered the reports of the envoys of the chair to Niger and various other places;
“Carefully considered the report and recommendations of the ECOWAS committee of chiefs of defence staff;
“Extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extraordinary Summit held on July 30 2023.
“Noted that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS in resolving the crisis have been defiantly repelled by the military leadership of the Republic of Niger;
“Taking note of the expiration of the one-week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger decide as follows:
“Reiterates its strong condemnation of the attempted coup d’etat and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoam, his family and members of his government.
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“Further condemns the condition in which President Bazoum is being detained and holds the CNSP fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of President Bazoum, members of his family and government.
“Uphold all measures and principles agreed upon by the extraordinary Summit held in Niger on July 30 2023.
“Underscore the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
“Enforce all measures, in particular, border closures and strict travel bans and assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions hinder all peaceful efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order.
“Warn member states who, by their action directly or indirectly, hindered the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Niger about the consequences of their action before the community.
“Call on the African Union to endorse all the decisions taken by the ECOWAS authority on the situation in Niger.
“Further call on all partner countries and institutions, including the United Nations, to support ECOWAS in its effort to ensure a quick restoration of constitutional order in conformity with its normative instruments.
“Direct the President of the Commission to monitor the implementation of the sanctions.
“Direct the Committee of the Chiefs of Defence staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.
“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
“Underscore its continued commitment for the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”