El-Rufai Issues a Warning to ECOWAS: Urges Caution on Military Intervention in Niger


Nasir el-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna, has raised concerns regarding potential military intervention in the Republic of Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

President Bola Tinubu, who chairs ECOWAS, stated that the organization is considering the use of force as a last resort if the leaders of the recent coup in Niger do not restore power to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

Following a meeting of defense chiefs from member countries in Accra, Ghana, last Thursday, ECOWAS announced the activation of its standby military force in Niger. While endorsing dialogue as a preferred mediation approach, the organization indicated that detailed preparations for a possible military intervention have been made and are being refined. This includes determining the timing, required resources, deployment locations, and specific operational details.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, el-Rufai expressed his concerns, highlighting the fraternal nature of the region. He referred to the 1970s rock classic “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits, suggesting that a conflict within the sub-region would essentially be a war between brothers. He urged the avoidance of such a situation, emphasizing the shared identity of the people of Niger Republic and those living in Northern Nigeria. He called for efforts to avert a civil war among brethren.

El-Rufai’s call for caution regarding military intervention aligns with similar sentiments expressed by stakeholders from Nigeria’s northern region. The Northern Senators Forum (NSF) also appealed to President Tinubu to exhaust diplomatic avenues in resolving the crisis. The NSF cautioned against deploying Nigerian troops to Niger Republic, as it could adversely impact seven northern states—Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe, and Borno—that share borders with the landlocked West African nation.

In response to these concerns, President Tinubu engaged in consultations with governors from five of the affected states. This engagement is part of a broader effort to devise the most suitable approach to addressing the situation.

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