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February 21, 2024
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Crisis looms as Northern groups oppose military action in Niger Republic

From Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna

A coalition comprising 593 groups under the banner of the Northern Consensus Movement (NCM) has called upon the President of Nigeria to reconsider and withdraw his proposed military intervention in Niger Republic.

Addressing the media in Kaduna, the group’s leader, Dr. Awwal Abdullahi Aliyu, emphasized that diplomacy holds greater significance than resorting to force or threats that might prove challenging or unfeasible to execute.

Dr. Aliyu emphasized, “We firmly believe that preventing coups is achieved not through sanctions or threats, but by addressing leadership deficiencies, corruption, minimizing external pressures, and establishing credible institutions to cater to people’s needs.”

Highlighting the historical ties between Nigeria and Niger Republic, Dr. Awwal noted, “Originally, Nigeria and Niger Republic share deep-rooted connections, akin to sister nations, entwined by religion, culture, and marital bonds.”

The group expressed concerns about the potential consequences of military action, including the risk of triggering a civil war.

Dr. Awwal pointed out the states bordering Niger that would be most affected, including Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno.

Expressing worry over the President’s request to the Senate for the implementation of a 7-point resolution against Niger Republic, some of which involve military measures and cutting off electricity supply, Dr. Awwal questioned whether the President fully comprehends the implications of such actions.

Highlighting recent developments, Dr. Awwal noted, “The United Nations has authorized ECOWAS to intervene militarily in Niger Republic if the newly-installed military administration fails to restore power to the ousted former President within a week. Reports suggest that Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali are prepared to respond as needed.”

He also voiced concerns about the possible repercussions if the ECOWAS countries involved in the military operation become targets of retaliation.

“We fear that Nigeria, particularly, might bear the brunt of these consequences, considering our substantial involvement in such actions and the over 100,000 internally displaced persons in Niger’s Diffa region for over a decade,” he said.

Dr. Aliyu highlighted the vulnerability of the North West Region, which heavily supported the President’s election, saying, “The region that gave him over 5 million votes will be the first to suffer if conflict ensues.”

The coalition praised the Nigerian Senate for its stance against immediate military action and urged the exploration of alternative avenues.

Dr. Awwal stressed the potential toll on innocent citizens, who could face severe consequences from any ensuing hostilities.

Concluding the statement, Dr. Aliyu reiterated the Northern Consensus Movement’s support for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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