Niger: Falana cites legal hurdles as analyst lauds ECOWAS on military action
• Supporters wave Niger, Russia flags in rally to cheer coup leader
A Human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), yesterday, affirmed that the Tinubu administration is required to seek the approval of both houses of the National Assembly, in compliance with Section 5(4) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which stipulates:
“The President shall not declare a state of war between the federation and another country except with the sanction of a resolution of both Houses of the National Assembly, sitting in a joint session. And except with the prior approval of the Senate, no member of the armed forces of the federation shall be deployed on combat duty outside Nigeria.”
Falana said: “In addition to the constitutional mandate, the ECOWAS is required to seek and obtain the authorisation of the UN Security Council to launch an attack on a sovereign nation pursuant to Article 53(1) of the United Nations Charter. Article 53(1) provides in part, ‘the Security Council shall, where appropriate, utilise such regional arrangements or agencies for enforcement action under its authority’.”
Falana said that the conduct of ECOWAS, as a regional arrangement, is subject to the provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly Article 53(1) and general international law.
But a former student activist, public commentator and an advocate of culture change in Nigeria, Nosa Osaikhuiwu, said the President should be applauded for taking the bold step as ECOWAS chair.
He said: “I am totally disgusted and outraged at political hypocrites and apostates who have masked their fascists and authoritarian streak in their sheer zealotry for some preferred candidates, only to be exposed by their adulation of military hoodlums and hooligans who have betrayed their oath to their nation and usurped power through violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in Niger.
“However, I am heartened that the President of Nigeria, after due consultations, has placed military options on the table to make it clear to the miscreants in Niamey that their reckless actions will not be tolerated. Nigeria is on the move.”
He added: “While I have no interest in wars, as I strongly believe in diplomatic engagements to resolve disagreements, the threats of force and willingness to use it does provide, in most cases, the necessary catalysts for peaceful resolutions.
“We can absolutely afford it as war actually produces economic growth because of all the demands it will create in terms of acquisitions, logistics and support of the war effort.
“The war is not starting tomorrow as the credible threat of military actions may be enough to convince the military hooligans in Niger and cause them to cede power.
“However, notwithstanding the cost, we must deal with this as this new threats of military incursions in politics in our region must be put to an end, as it is in our long term strategic and national security interests to stop this madness.
“There are diplomatic alternatives, including economic pressures and blockade, but all these must be on the table including the credible threat of military option to make a deal possible.”
MEANWHILE, thousands of coup supporters in Niger gathered, yesterday, for a rally to cheer on the generals claiming power, as a deadline set by the West African bloc for the military to relinquish control or face possible armed intervention elapsed yesterday.
The Economic Community of West African States bloc, chaired by regional military powerhouse and Niger’s neighbour, Nigeria, had given the troops that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 a week to return him to power.
But yesterday afternoon in the capital, Niamey, thousands of backers of the now-ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) gathered at a stadium draped in Russian flags and carrying portraits of CNSP leaders.
At the 30,000-seat Seyni Kountche stadium, named after Niger’s first coup d’etat leader in 1974, CNSP leaders including General Mohamed Toumba greeted a jubilant crowd, while showing no sign of willingness to cede power.
On Friday, ECOWAS military chiefs of staff agreed a plan for a possible intervention to respond to the crisis, the latest of several coups to hit Africa’s Sahel region since 2020.
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