The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been cautioned against military action in the Niger Republic by Nasir el-Rufai, a former governor of Kaduna, on Tuesday.
The head of ECOWAS, President Bola Tinubu, had declared that if the Niger coup leaders do not cede control to deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, the organisation will resort to using force as a last resort.
Following a meeting of the ECOWAS defence chiefs on Thursday in Accra, Ghana’s capital, ECOWAS announced that it had started the activation of its standby force in Niger.
Defence chiefs supported suggestions for discussion as a method for mediating, but the group claimed that every aspect of possible military action had been planned and was being fine-tuned.
In a tweet on Tuesday, el-Rufai said a war within the sub-region would be a war between brothers.
“As ECOWAS beats the drums of war, I recall the 1970s rock classic by Dire Straits – ‘Brothers in Arms’, because a war within our subregion is a war between brothers,” el-Rufai tweeted.
“Indeed, the people of Niger Republic are one and the same with those living in Northern Nigeria. Let us bend therefore over backwards to avoid this civil war between brothers.”
El-Rufai’s request to refrain from military action in Niger is the most recent from northern Nigerian stakeholders.
Additionally, Tinubu had been tasked by the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) to use every diplomatic tool at his disposal to end the conflict.
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