As this publication reported yesterday, the Nigerian President requested permission from the Senate to allow Nigerian troops to spearhead a possible ECOWAS military intervention after the recent coup in Niger.
However, according to Nigerian media senators today rejected military intervention, but did agree to condemn the coup. According to Premium Times, which spoke to one of those Nigerian Senators:
“Almost all the senators spoke and totally ruled out the military options because of many factors and also because of the harmonious relationship that Nigeria and Niger has always enjoyed.
Senators instead urged President Tinubu to intensify negotiation with the coup leaders by again sending a high-powered delegation to Niamey. Someone suggested that elderstatemen like Obasanjo, Gen Ali Gusau and Abdulsalam Abubakar should be sent as special envoys to dialogue and seek a diplomatic solution.
Senators opposed to military action pointed out that our military is highly ill-equipped and not prepared to fight any war.They said that we have fragile peace in Nigeria and that Niger is the highest arms market in Africa.
Senators believe that the Federal Government should focus on solving the Boko Haram, banditry and ESN/IPOB menaces ravaging the country instead of contemplating going to war in a foreign country.
Over 90 per cent of senator who spoke are vehement against sending troops/military action.”
This devastating ruling evaporates the Nigerian President’s options to enforce international condemnation against the coup, even as the French government has vowed to support Nigerian led military intervention. The French Foreign Ministry announced today:
”The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ms. Catherine Colonna, received, on August 5, 2023, at the Quai d’Orsay, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, Mr. Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou. He was accompanied by the Ambassador of Niger in France, Mrs. Aichatou Boulama Kane.
The Minister reaffirmed France’s full support for President Bazoum, elected by the people of Niger, and his government, who are the only legitimate authorities in Niger.
France supports with firmness and determination the efforts of ECOWAS to defeat this putsch attempt. The future of Niger and the stability of the entire region are at stake.
ECOWAS gave the putschists seven days to put an end to their coup. It expires tomorrow, Sunday August 6th. France solemnly calls on those responsible for this coup attempt to release President Bazoum and all the members of his government, and to allow an immediate return to constitutional and democratic order.”
In response to the looming end of such deadline, Nigerien National Council for Safeguard of Homeland Deputy Leader Salifou Mody reportedly requested deployment of Wagner troops from Mali to Niamey. The request was reported by the Associated Press, but local media have now reported that those advisers are present in the Nigerien capital as of this publication.
?Putsch au #Niger : plusieurs sources confirment la présence à Niamey «d’instructeurs» du groupe de mercenaires russes, Wagner, en provenance du Mali. Comme ce fut le cas lors de la prise de pouvoir du capitaine Ibrahim Traoré au #BurkinaFaso, le Colonel Assimi Goïta «conseille»… pic.twitter.com/8p5rc1dmc6
— LSI AFRICA (@lsiafrica) August 5, 2023
This looming deadline seems to be a paper tiger now that the Nigerian military will not deploy. The French government has also decided not to act unilaterally due to fears of perception of colonialism.