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ECOWAS can not justify any intervention in Niger without UN authorisation — Falana



Femi Falana, SAN, a human rights attorney, urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that before making any operations in the Niger Republic, it is constitutionally required to have the approval of the United Nations Security Council.

The ECOWAS, commanded by President Bola Tinubu, gave putschists in the country of West Africa a one-week deadline last Sunday to free and restore Mohamed Bazoum, the elected president of Niger who has been detained by the military for more than ten days.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Falana emphasised that, in accordance with Article 53(1) of the UN Charter, ECOWAS must approach and secure the UN Security Council’s approval before attacking a sovereign state.

Citing Article 53(1), the senior advocate said, “The Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilize such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority.

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“But no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorization of the Security Council.”

According to him, this means that the conduct of the ECOWAS, as a regional arrangement, is subject to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly article 53(1) and general international law.

“Therefore, the ECOWAS can not justify any intervention in Niger without the authorisation of the Security Council,” he said.

“It is also clear that any intervention by the ECOWAS, apart from being subject to the authorisation of the Security Council, must be on a collective basis and not a unilateral one.”

He added that in the absence of explicit Security Council authorisation, any intervention by the ECOWAS would be illegal, unless it concerns a situation of self-defence, “which is clearly not the case in the situation of the planned intervention in Niger”.

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