The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has again reacted to developments around the Niger coup impasse, taking special concern for threats by the country’s military leaders to bring charges of high treason against the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum or kill him.
Reacting to the announcement by Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister, CNG, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said it was ill-timed, ill-advised and condemnable, as well as a provocation and contradiction of the junta’s reported willingness to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis.
Similarly, the CNG warned against any form of international escalation of the conflict and urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to continue to play its big brother role in the region by insisting on the exploration of all available diplomatic windows for peace, and impressed the imperative of the Niger military allowing all options for negotiations open, without the need for unnecessary threats and grandstanding that in the president circumstance, have very little or no utility value.
“The CNG strongly repudiates the suggestion to try President Bazoum by the military authorities as well as every other move that potentially poses a threat to the the peaceful resolution of the crisis and leads to escalation of any form,” Suleiman said.
He said it is shocking that the military statement came just hours after a group of Nigerian respected Islamic scholars announced a meeting with Niger’s coup leader Abdourahamane Tchiani in Niamey and said the general had agreed to hold “direct talks” with ECOWAS.
“Any attempt by the military leadership in Niger to press charges against Bazoum will only likely increase tensions between the military in Niger and the international community,” Suleiman said.
CNG pointed out that a war and instability in Niger Republic would be counterproductive with the possibility of spiralling into long-term armed conflicts that will hurt countries of the sub-region with unintended political and socioeconomic consequences.
The CNG said while it does not dispute the fact that restoration of constitutional order in Niger Republic in the shortest possible time is welcomed, democracy can however only endure in the country when all parties to the prevailing crisis agree to reasonable terms in bringing about long-term peace.
“ECOWAS should therefore desist from creating the impression that genuine diplomacy can go along with threats of military action by way of activation of invading force against the regime in Niger.
“In handling this issue therefore, ECOWAS must take into consideration the interest of the civilian population of Niger, who by all indications and for whatever reasons, appear to support the military leaders.
“On their part, the military leaders must recognize the fact that they also owe a responsibility to the population and to the larger African continent and that in the fullness of time, their actions will not go unnoticed and they will be held accountable for any escalation resulting from their utterances and threats, ” Suleiman said.
Warning that Africa and Africans must not tolerate any further internationally-instigated armed conflict that aims to weaken the continent politically and pauperize it economically, CNG said only Africa can solve its problems its own way.
To international intruders we say, Africa is neither unmindful nor forgetful of their designs, but that will never affect our regional integrity and cohesion. Africa will remain resolute in protecting its legacy and inherited responsibility to all Africans,” Suleiman said.
Cautioning President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government to resist the temptation of allowing Nigeria to lead or in anyway take part in any form of the use of force in Niger or any other West African or African nation, CNG warned that “whoever sets fire to his neighbour’s house, may risk burning his own house also.”