The Northern Senators Caucus of the 10th Senate has expressed its concern and condemnation over the recent coup in Niger, which overthrow the democratically elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum.
The caucus also urged for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the crisis, while warning against the use of military force and economic sanctions.
The Niger Coup: What Happened and Why it Matters
On July 26, 2021, a group of soldiers from the presidential guard launched a coup attempt in Niger, one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries. The soldiers attacked the presidential palace and seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum, who was elected in February 2021.
The Niger coup matters for several reasons. First: it threatened the stability and democracy of Niger, which has been plagued by political turmoil, violent extremism, poverty, and humanitarian crises.
Second: it challenged the legitimacy and authority of President Bazoum, who faced allegations of electoral fraud and opposition protests after his victory.
Third: it posed a risk for the security and development of the region and the world, as Niger is a strategic partner in the fight against terrorism and migration in the Sahel.
The Northern Senators Caucus: How They Responded to the Niger Coup
The Northern Senators Caucus is a group of senators from Nigeria’s northern states who share common interests and concerns. The caucus is led by Sen. Abdul Ahmad Ningi, who represents Bauchi Central Senatorial District.
The caucus issued a statement on August 4, 2023, in which they expressed their concern and condemnation over the Niger coup. The statement read:
“We, the Northern Senators Caucus of the 10th Senate under the leadership of Sen. Abdul Ahmad Ningi, note with concern and condemn in its entirety the unfortunate development in the Niger Republic, where the military forcefully upstaged a democratically elected government of President Mohammed Bazoum.”
The caucus also praised the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders under the chairmanship of Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who convened an emergency summit to address the situation in Niger.
The caucus said:
“The Northern Senators also take cognizance of the efforts of the ECOWAS leaders under the chairmanship of our Dear President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in resolving the situation in Niger Republic. The emphasis, however, should be focused on political and diplomatic means to restore democratic government in Niger Republic.”
The caucus also warned against the use of military force or economic sanctions to pressure Niger’s military junta, saying that such measures would have negative consequences for Niger’s people and Nigeria’s northern states.
The caucus said:
“We also take exception to use of military force until other avenues as mentioned above are exhausted as the consequences will be casualties among the innocent citizens who go about their daily business. Besides, about seven northern states who shared borders with Niger Republic namely Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno will be negatively affected.
We are also aware of the situation of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Libya, which may affect the seven Northern states if military force is used. There is serious implication for our country if military force is used without exhausting all the diplomatic channels.”
The caucus also appealed to their colleagues in the Senate to observe due diligence in invoking section 5 sub-section (4) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. This section gives the president the power to deploy armed forces outside Nigeria for peacekeeping or enforcement purposes.
What You Should Know
The Northern Senators Caucus has shown its solidarity and support for Niger’s democracy and stability by condemning the coup attempt and calling for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the crisis. The caucus has also highlighted the potential risks and implications of using military force or economic sanctions to intervene in Niger’s affairs. The caucus has also urged the Nigerian government to act responsibly and constitutional in dealing with Niger’s situation.
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