Niger Developments: Nigeria Shuts Border, Senators Reject Military Intervention
The Republic of Niger’s recent military coup has prompted the Nigerian Federal Government to close its border with its neighbor. Additionally, President Bola Tinubu has appealed to the Senate for support in considering military intervention against the junta in Niger.
Bashir Adewale, acting Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service, announced the border closure on Friday at Magamar-Jibia, a border town between Nigeria and Niger. The decision to close the land borders was made in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) resolution, as confirmed by President Tinubu.
Tinubu, who leads both Nigeria and ECOWAS, had recently convened with fellow ECOWAS leaders to address the coup in Niger and its consequences. The regional leaders discussed potential sanctions against the military personnel responsible for overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023.
Meanwhile, General Abdourahmane Tchiani-led, the leader of the junta, is reportedly considering recalling the Nigerien Ambassador to Nigeria after failing to reach an agreement with ECOWAS and Nigerian delegations regarding the restoration of democracy in Niger.
Bashir Adewale emphasized that there will be no movement of goods between Nigeria and Niger until further notice due to the border closure.
President Tinubu’s letter to the Senate sought support for various measures, including cutting off the electricity supply to Niger, military deployment, and closing all land borders. The president also mentioned engaging social media for sensitization.
However, Northern Senators expressed caution against military action, preferring diplomatic solutions to address the coup in Niger.
In light of these developments, the ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staff emphasized the importance of dialogue as a primary approach to resolving the crisis in Niger, while acknowledging the need for a comprehensive response that includes political, security, and diplomatic dimensions.
Additionally, Chief Olabode George, a prominent figure in the Peoples Democratic Party, warned President Tinubu against rushing into military intervention in Niger, suggesting a careful assessment of the situation and potential Western influences behind the coup.
As the situation unfolds, regional leaders, including Nigeria, continue to navigate diplomatic and strategic considerations in addressing the crisis in Niger.