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By Aliyu Alhassan, Esq

“War does not determine who is right, only who is left”

            – Bertrand Russell

The deployment of  two high powered Nigerian diplomatic delegations led by the duo of Nigerian Former Military Leader Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and Amb. Babagana Kingibe to engage coup Leaders in Niger and interface with other stakeholders in the Sahel to amicably resolve the political impasse in the West African country is a demonstration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to diplomacy despite the provocative action of the Nigerien Military.

Complex political matters in our multilateral international arena require the deployment of diplomatic mechanisms as the first and the last resort towards the achievement of sustainable solutions. The pursuit of peaceful  resolution to the Nigerien conundrum is inline with Nigerian Foreign Policy of non-aggression in our engagements with other African States especially where the actions of the other African state did not threaten our territorial integrity.

Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in his first speech before the UN General Assembly in 1960 made it abundantly clear that “We in Nigeria appreciate the advantages which the size of our country and its population give us, but we have absolutely no aggressive intentions. We shall never impose ourselves on any other country and shall treat every African Territory, big or small, as our equal because we honestly feel that it is only on that basis of equality that peace can be maintained in our continent”.

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The series of coup d’etat sweeping through the Francophone States in the Sahel could be argued to symbolize a resistance to French neo-colonialism in West Africa, just as it could be seen as a threat to constitutional order in the sub-region. As an influential African State, we must respect the sovereignty of other African States regardless of the system of government in place.

In Mali and Burkina Faso for example, the Military Juntas appear to have drastically improved the security of the two countries since they took over power and severed relations with France. In Niger, regardless of the fact that the Military overthrew an elected leader, commentaries of Nigeriens on social media, suggests that the coup appear to enjoy  street credibility. This is not to support the unfortunate overthrow and continued detention of the democratically elected president. However, we are not Neo-Conservatives who encourage wars and bloodshed in foreign states in the name of restoring democracy or promoting huma rights and freedom.

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Considering the complex nature of the Nigerien crisis and the involvement of global powers by proxy, ECOWAS under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu need to stay committed to approaching the situation with tact, soft power, less restrictive sanctions and zero violence. We must as a nation resist any attempt by global powers to use us as pawns in their game by arm-twisting Nigeria to lead a Military  intervention in Niger as this will only result in avoidable loss of lives, balkanization of ECOWAS and worsened security and economic conditions in Nigeria, and across West Africa.

Though the hegemony in West Africa, Nigeria needs every kobo in its treasury  to improve its infrastructure as well as economic and security situation back home. We must not initiate an internecine warfare on behalf of France, USA, China or Russia. The President of Nigeria must resist the attempt to turn West Africa into a theatre of war.

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The diplomatic option adopted by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at this stage is the best. The security of Niger, and our other neighboring countries is sacrosanct and more important than achieving a costly and a bloody democratic government in the West African State. We need to learn a lesson from Iraq and Libya and maintain the fragile peace we enjoy in the sub-region.

Let’s boost trade among our countries. Let’s get involved in the Uranium deals. After all, the superpowers of our multilateral global system tolerated the coup in Egypt and the Western powers are friends with many autocratic regimes across Asia and the Middle East.

We do not need a Military intervention in Niger to prove any point. We have shown examples in The Gambia and Sao Tome. We have assisted Sierra Leone and Liberia to restore constitutional governments. We need to make strategic exceptions and tolerate Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger and diplomatically encourage them to transition power to elected leaders  through a credible transition program.

Aliyu Alhassan, Esq writes from Lafiagi.

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