EDITORIAL No To Invasion And War In Niger Republic For Any Regime Change!

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reportedly written a letter to the National Assembly seeking the latter’s approval to declare a war on our northerly neighbours, Niger Republic, over the recent military coup in that country.  

  This newspaper is aghast at such a rash decision by a President who has zero military pedigree and is barely 60 days in office in a country which faces a looming social anomie on its home front caused by years of bad leadership and exacerbated by its own run-away train-wagon hurtle towards a full-blown free-market economic system as exemplified by the fuel subsidy removal and naira float, without neither the socio-economic base – industrial, infrastructural, etc – nor a social safety net for it.

 Of what strategic importance is Niger Republic to Nigeria, which demands this jaded walk into a war Nigeria can neither afford by any quantum of calculation, given our fragile internal security situation as signposted by the shambles we have made of tackling terrorism, banditry, secessionist agitations, etc?

 How does restoring civil rule in Niger Republic trumps the localised bogs Nigeria currently faces in terms of youth unemployment, comatose industrial sector, a joke of a public infrastructure, etc?

 A war with Niger today is utter misplacement of national imperatives, which the National Assembly and all Nigerians must oppose and stop President Tinubu from starting, as the unintended consequences are too dare to contemplate, including the possible disintegration of Nigeria!

Niger is a former French Colony and no fewer than three, poweful Western nations, including the United States (U.S.), have military forces in that county. Given the West’s history of coup-making in the so-called Third-World nations like Niger and Nigeria, has President Tinubu stopped to ponder why the Nigerien military coup occurred despite the military presence of these world powers in Niger?

  The claim that our military intervention is in defence of democracy is moot as the Nigerien coup is not the first in the region in recent times. Besides, it is a blatant fetishization of democracy by those pushing this narrative in order to invade Niger.

 A country’s system of government is inviolate in international law insofar as that country has not deprived another of its sovereignty, security, peace and progress. A coup in Niger Republic has not visited any direct harm on Nigeria, But the war President Tinubu is angling for would do just that.

 As our international partners in the war against terror, a Nigerian military action against the regime in Niger automatically annuls that bilateral cooperation and takes all bets off the table. To be sure, Niger Republic has no obligation to dam the drift of more terrorists from the Sahel region, Syria, etc to Nigeria, as the Nigerian Government knows fully well Niger has been doing for years now. The security implication of removing this Nigerien buffer against terror elements from swarming over Nigeria far outweighs any intervention in that country, especially if the Tinubu war fails or becomes protracted, which are real possibilities in the current circumstance.

This newspaper takes the stance that the coup in Niger Republic is the internal affair of that country which Nigeria and indeed our smokescreen – the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS) – need not interfere with beyond expelling Niger from ECOWAS and imposing sanctions on that country as ECOWAS had done already.

  There are claims in the media that the West is goading President Tinubu and ECOWAS towards war on Niger. It is foolhardy for Nigeria and ECOWAS to dance to the alleged Western drum of war.

Niger is not Sao Tome and Principe where then President Olusegun Obasanjo was able to return an elected President into office after a military putsch ousted him. The circumstances are not the same.

 The imprimatur of the Russia-Ukraine war is all over the situation in Niger. President Tinubu, his National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and his Service Chiefs should be able to see this very clearly and not plunge Nigeria into the proxy war of the West and the East by invading Niger. The President may know how to start the invasion but nobody, including President Tinubu, has the power of clairvoyance to know how the war therefrom would go. The on-going war between Russia and Ukraine stands as a cautionary tale to all war mongers in ECOWAS and the Nigerian Presidency over the Nigerien development.  

We warn that President Tinubu may inadvertently walk Nigeria into our own Bay of Pigs calamity. Before he does that, the President should introspect and ask himself why the most powerful nation on Earth – the United States of America – failed on that mission with a tiny Cuba, and why for over 60 years now the U.S. has not repeated that folly of invading Cuba, satisfying itself only with the sanctions and blockades it has in place against that island, which lies mere hours by boat from its shores.

 We say no to invasion and war in Niger for any regime change!                       

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