By Our Correspondent
The Senate has rejected an option of military operations in Nigeria’s neighbouring Niger Republic and instead called on the ECOWAS Parliament and other leaders to condemn the coup d’etat in the country.
According to the Nigerian Senate, the Niger political impasse should be addressed politically rather than using military action.
President Tinubu had written the Senate on Friday, seeking for the implementation of the Resolutions of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in Niger Republic.
The communique issued by the ECOWAS leaders chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is the chairman, stated that military action would be carried against any country that forcefully toppled a democratically elected government.
But considering the executive communication during a closed-door session that lasted for more than two hours on Saturday, which was raised by the Senate leader, Bamidele Opeyemi, the Senate rejected military action and insisted on engaging with the Nigerian President on resolving the issue.
Speaking after the closed-door session, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said at the closed-session they considered Tinubu’s request and resolved to go for a political solution rather than military action, considering the long-standing relationship between Nigeria and Niger.
“At our executive session, the Senate condemned in totality the coup that took place in Niger Republic.
“The Senate commends President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other Heads of State of ECOWAS on their prompt response.
“The Senate recognises the fact that President Tinubu, by the virtue of his correspondence, has not asked that we should approve a request to go to war, but he expressed a wish to solicit support in the successful implementation of the ECOWAS communique.
“The leadership of the Senate is mandated to further engage the President on how best to engage and resolve the issues,” Akpabio added.
Speaking further, the Senate President said the Senate was calling on the President of Nigeria, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, to further engage leaders to strengthen political options in resolving the political situation in Niger.
“The Senate is mandated to further engage President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on how best to resolve the issue in view of the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Niger.
“The Senate called on the ECOWAS Parliament to rise to this and condemn the military coup in Niger and to resolve the impasse,” Akpabio added.
Meanwhile, the Northern Senators Forum has condemned the Niger coup, but rejected planned military action against the Junta.
The Northern Senators, who cautioned against the use of military power in Niger, added that Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should use diplomatic channel to address the situation rather than military might.
The lawmakers also frowned at economic and other sanctions imposed on Niger, adding that if the issue is not well managed, it will affect some of Nigerian States like Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno negatively.
“We, the Northern Senators of the Northern Senators Caucus of the 10th Senate under the leadership of Sen Abdul Ahmad Ningi, noted with concern and condemn in its entirety the unfortunate development in Niger Republic, where the military forcefully upstaged a democratically elected government of President Mohammed Bazoum.
“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 the Niger Republic.
“We also take exception to the 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 shared the border with the Niger Republic namely Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa. Yobe and Borno will be negatively affected,” spokesman of the group, Senator Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila, noted.
According to him, “We are also aware of the situation of Mali, Burkina Faso and Libya, which may affect the seven Northern states when military force is used.
“There is a serious implication for our country, if military force is used without exhausting all diplomatic channels.
“As democrats and representatives of the people, we are here by urging our colleagues to observe due diligence in invoking section 5 subsection (4) (a) and (b) of the constitution.”