By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano
The Ulama Forum in Nigeria has urged President Bola Tinubu led Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against attempt to use military to settle political upheavals caused by the recent Palace coup in Niger Republic.
Rising from a meeting attended by its representatives from the 36 states of the country, including Abuja, the Ulama Forum advised Nigerian government, and by extension the ECOWAS, to retract from treading the undemocratic path of issuing threats or employing violence and, instead, take to the more enlightened and more informed diplomatic protocols in assisting Niger Republic to restore its democracy.
A statement issued after the meeting signed by the Convener and Secretary of the Forum, Aminu Inuwa Muhammad and Engr. Basheer Adamu Aliyu, respectively, indicated that: “The Nigerian National Assembly should wake up to its constitutional responsibility of critically looking into this issue and exercising the necessary check on the executive and prevent Nigeria from going into needless war.
“Faith based organizations in the country, from across the faiths, should embark on preaching for peace in the region and maintaining the good neighborliness that has long existed between Nigeria and Niger.”
The Ulama Forum, however, called on the Muslim Ummah to, “embark on earnest prayers for Allah’s mercy in touching the hearts of our leaders so that they listen to the voice of reason and not to succumb to the influence of subterranean hands.”
The statement further stated that: “It is vitally important for the Nigerian government to consider its current formative stage and the security threats that are spread all over the nation which are stretching its resources and capabilities than to rush into an avoidable conflict with a neighbour at the behest of global politicking.
“The Forum commends the latest diplomatic initiative of sending envoys by ECOWAS to engage the military leaders of Niger in a robust and constructive dialogue. This is indeed, the right way to go and it should be explored to the maximum extent.”
However, the Forum observed that: “The Military intervention in Niger republic, like those that took place in the Sahel region before it, is sad, most unfortunate, and deserved condemnation by democratic minds and all peace loving people the world over.
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“Notwithstanding the preference which many people have for democracy and its principles, the choice for the route to good governance is strictly that of citizens of each country. It is the right of the people of Niger to fight for the restoration of democracy in their country, if they so wish and any attempt by anybody, anywhere, other than in Niger, will tantamount to employing undemocratic means to achieve a democratic end.
“The ultimatumn given by ECOWAS to the current leaders of Niger goes counter to democratic protocols and it encroaches on the sovereignty of the country.
“Given the general and widespread insecurity now bedeviling the Sahel, any international war of the nature that some people are mulling will not only compound the security challenges of the region but will also make governance more difficult as more and more people will be militarized while food insecurity will bite harder.
“It is certain that the vast majority of people in Nigeria are not, and will not be, in support of war with an erstwhile good neighbour which always looks towards Nigeria as a senior partner.
“A war between these countries will harm friendship, cause economic hardship, worsen humanitarian crisis, and leave hard-to-heal wounds on each party
“Worse of all, the putative war will render the region a theatre of war vulnerable to the exploitation of foreign interests. No, we cannot afford to fight a proxy war on behalf of resources-hungry world powers whose interests lie in our continuous subjugation.
“The leading role of ECOWAS to protect and secure the region from all foreign intrusions would be stretched beyond limits and dispose to divide and rule between the traditional lines of Anglophone and Francophone by those bent on stealing the resources of the region, by illegitimate ways and means.
“Once the region is destabilized and divided upon itself, the healing process will be a long run one and fraught with vulnerabilities.”
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