The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has urged President Bola Tinubu to withdraw economic sanctions imposed and shun the use of force if the crisis in Niger Republic is to be resolved.
Convener of NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi made the call in a statement on Tuesday.
Recall that the military deposed democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum and forcefully took over power on July 26.
Last Thursday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directed the deployment of its standby force to restore constitutional order in the country.
The regional bloc also imposed economic sanctions on Niger, while Nigeria cut off electricity supply and trade with the neighbouring nation.
In its statement, the northern elders said the use of force against Niger should be ruled out as it is unlikely to achieve the goals of restoring the constitutional order and improving the frontiers of democratic systems in West Africa.
The northern elders said it would compound the security and humanitarian crises in the ECOWAS region.
According to the forum, lifting economic sanctions will help smoothen the process of negotiations.
“Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had chosen to observe events and reactions in Niger Republic since the coup d’etat in that country a few weeks ago.
“Our decision to watch and refrain from open comments was informed by a number of reasons.
“First, we joined millions of Nigerians and Africans in rejecting in totality any attempt to overthrow the constitutional order by the Nigerien military.
“Nigerians had been encouraged by a number of visits from Nigeria to Niger Republic which suggested that the diplomatic option is open, and that Nigeria has the potential to influence developments in Niger.
“Nigeria should remove all sanctions and other measures intended to force the government and people of Niger into acquiescence.
“This will make negotiations led by Nigeria, using all assets that both countries value, easier to conduct.
“The use of force against Niger should be ruled out.
“It is unlikely to achieve the goals of restoring the constitutional order and improving the frontiers of democratic systems in West Africa. It will compound the security and humanitarian crises in the ECOWAS region,” NEF’s statement read in part.
NEF added that the use of force would strain centuries-old good relationship between Nigerians and Nigeriens.
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