in the wake of the recent coup d’état in Niger Republic, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has strongly cautioned against the use of military force to restore democracy in the country.
Members of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) had at the end of its second extraordinary summit in August 10, 2023, issued a statement that directed the Committee of Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
The development has sparked concerns over the possible outbreak of war between the military junta and ECOWAS countries.
The coup, which resulted in the ousting of the democratically elected government of Mohammed Bazoum has raised international alarm and prompted discussions on possible measures to reinstate democratic governance.
While some voices have advocated for a military intervention to restore order, the labour centre emphasises the need for a diplomatic and peaceful resolution.
“Despite our unimpeachable credentials in the popular struggle against military rule, we would strongly counsel against the use of military force to remove the military junta in Niger Republic as the disadvantages clearly outweigh the benefits…from putting in danger the lives of the deposed President Bazoum and his family to the destabilisation of the entire region including Northern Nigeria, and loss of many lives in and out of the battle field”, NLC national president, Comrade Joseph Ajaero pointed out.
As Niger Republic stands at a crossroads, the NLC’s appeal for restraint and diplomacy serves as a reminder of the potential pitfalls of military intervention.
“We equally do believe that ECOWAS did not exhaust the process of dialogue before beating war drums. The missions to Niamey were seen as an afterthought.
One of the consequences of weaponising electricity supply to Niger Republic is the right of proportionate responsorial action by way of Niger Republic damming the Niger River with unimaginable effects on our echo system”, he said.
He added, “Beyond all this, time has come for us to ask ourselves if we have the economic strength to prosecute this war. Even seasoned generals do admit that we can often predict the beginning of wars but can seldom tell how they end.
We are advocates of democracy and will do all that is necessary to promote and preserve it. However, what will preserve democracy in our territories will not be the threat or use of military force against sovereign nations but the observance of the core values and rules of democracy.
It is up to our Presidents or political leaders to do the needful, it is in consideration of these that we join other organisations and respected voices in saying no to war”.