Northern Nigerian pressure group says no war with the Republic of Niger calls for peaceful dialogue with military junta
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) a social political group made up of northern Nigerian elder statesmen called on President Bola Tinubu not to commence military operations in neighbouring Niger.
The group gave the warning while calling for a dialogue to resolve the issue in a statement issued by its General Secretary, Murtala Aliyu, on Friday.
“Military deployment and intervention to phase out the coup plotters in the Niger Republic will not guarantee peace and stability in the ECOWAS sub-region.” The ACF maintained.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directed the closure of land and air borders between member states against the Niger Republic over a military coup d’état that removed democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, from office.
The Authority of Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS, which Nigeria chairs also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the military in Niger Republic to restore the ousted President.
Tinubu also wrote the Senate to seek military intervention on the Niger military junta if they are refused to step down and release Bazoum.
The statement reads in part, “ACF, however, views with concern the unfolding events in Nigeria’s immediate neighbour, the Republic of Niger, and the potential impact on the region.
“The measures being contemplated should have taken into consideration the historical antecedents and mutual interests of the two countries and weighed the consequences of the use of military force.“
While the ACF recognises the ECOWAS position to bring pressure to bear on the perpetrators, nevertheless the military option shouldn’t be a prerequisite for Nigeria’s and the Community’s continuing efforts to enthrone democracy in the region in the 21st century.”
ACF noted that though military intervention might yield a temporary solution, the result will come with repercussions for Nigeria as a leader and the regional body.“
To this end, ACF notes that while it supports the position to restore democratic rule in Niger, it calls on the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government under the able Chairmanship of President Bola Tinubu, that it should toe the path of dialogue and diplomacy and certainly not force, in resolving the current impasse in Niger in the interest of peaceful coexistence with our brotherly neighbour and stability of the ECOWAS region,” it added.
The ACF is made up of leaders in northern Nigeria formed in 2000, it has considerable influence in Nigerian politics. (Arewa means “Northern” in Hausa, the primary language of the region.) The forum is a successor to the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), which collapsed after the coup of 1966.
Akowe with reports from Abuja