Disapproval continues to grow over the intentions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by President Bola Tinubu, to initiate military actions against Niger Republic. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, and the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) have voiced their concerns against this move.
The ultimatum given by ECOWAS leaders to the coup plotters, demanding the restoration of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum to power or face military intervention, recently expired.
The President of the CBCN, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prevent ECOWAS from using military force against the coup plotters in Niger Republic. He emphasized the need to avoid bloodshed and urged for a diplomatic approach to resolve the situation.
JNI also cautioned against military action, urging Nigeria and ECOWAS to consider peaceful and diplomatic solutions. The group emphasized the potential negative consequences of military intervention, especially for the Northern Nigerian communities that share borders with Niger Republic.
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AANI expressed its support for ECOWAS’ efforts to restore democracy in Niger Republic but advised against immediate military action. AANI highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of the political crisis and suggested adopting non-military options like diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions.
Femi Falana, a human rights activist, pointed out that President Bola Tinubu cannot lead an ECOWAS military intervention without approval from the National Assembly, in accordance with the Nigerian Constitution. He emphasized the necessity of seeking authorization from both the National Assembly and the UN Security Council.
Constitutional lawyer Sebastine Hon echoed this sentiment, stating that the President cannot override the National Assembly’s disapproval. He emphasized that the Constitution requires the National Assembly’s sanction for the deployment of troops on combat missions and suggested that pursuing military action without their approval would be a breach of the Constitution.
Dr. Monday Ubani, former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, also highlighted the constitutional requirement for the President to obtain the approval of the National Assembly before leading Nigerian military actions. He stated that deploying troops without legislative concurrence would constitute a violation of the Constitution.