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NIGER COUP: Nigerians Reject ECOWAS War Plan, Back NASS




By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Sam Oyadongha (Yenagoa), Jimitota Onoyume (Warri), Emma Una (Calabar), Chioma Onuegbu (Uyo), Davies Iheamnachor (Port Harcourt), and Ochuko Akuopha (Asaba)

NIGERIANS, yesterday, rebuffed the plan of the Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to deploy soldiers in Niger Republic to oust the military junta.

A coterie of military officers led by General Abdourhamane Tchiani, on July 26, toppled the elected President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, and held him and his family members, hostage at the Presidential Palace in Niamey since then.

ECOWAS at an extraordinary meeting of the Heads of States, Thursday, in Abuja, ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger Republic.

The resolution read in part: “Direct the committee of the Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.

“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger; Underscore its continued commitment to the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”

Rule out military intervention—Ikpomwen, ex-provost marshal, Nigerian Army

Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-Gen Don Idada Ikpomwen, told Saturday Vanguard: “Niger is a sovereign nation; it is evidently clear that the recent military takeover in the country has the support of the Nigerian people. What has happened there is a welcomed revolution.

Nothing can be better than the law, system, or government that reflects the good and well-being of the people. The Nigerian Senate has, after due consideration of all relevant issues, said no to the use of military force to return the ousted former president to power.

“Our Constitution provides that we shall not deploy Nigerian Forces outside for a combat mission without the approval of Senate. One cannot perceive the urgency that would dictate otherwise.

“ECOWAS Treaty can not justify forceful intervention in Niger more so when Nigerians will endure such adventure. The UN non-intervention principle may have to be relaxed because of the recognition accorded democracy, but it still disallows forceful and dictatorial interventions. Aggressive military intervention in Niger would in the present circumstance be dictatorial.

A diplomatic approach is the only option. It may be pertinent to add that ‘democratically elected’ rulers embedded in corruption in the destruction of their people cannot hide under the global norm of democracy to sustain and perpetuate their misrule of destruction and pauperization of their people.
In the same vein, Western powers, driven by their selfish motives, must not encourage or support corrupt countries of the so-called under-developed countries.

It is a travesty–HM Ayemi-Botu

Reacting to the war plan, the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, in Delta State, HM Charles Ayemi-Botu, said: “ECOWAS ordering deployment of soldiers to oust military junta in Niger is a charade and misnomer without fulfilling the conventionally approved norms of going to war as Russia is doing in Ukraine. First, the ECOWAS countries must get approval or clearance from their National Assembly and the United Nations Organisation before embarking on such hostility against a fellow sovereign nation. There are several intriguing questions for ECOWAS to clarify before any attempt to go on such a suicide mission. Is Niger the only country in ECOWAS that is under military rule and if not, then what about Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali? Then, why must Niger be an exceptional case?

“Who is financing the War and does ECOWAS has funds to finance the war? Is there no likelihood of support from the other three countries under military rule, and third, support from Russia, Libya, and other Muslim countries? Nigeria has a direct boundary with five of its states bounding Niger and those states would be veritable targets for Niger if ECOWAS goes on its restoration mission, and should be prepared to restore the other three countries too. President Tinubu and his fellow ECOWAS leaders are apparently crying more than the bereaved, one could as well see it as someone, who does not care about removing the log in his eye, but prefers to remove the dust in another person’s eye. Tinubu has a litany of woes and crises from the daily rise in petroleum products because of his removal of the subsidy, which is still sustained in the United Kingdom, United States, and other developed countries.

Frankly, removal of subsidy is a cankerworm to the entire citizenry of Nigeria. The unabated corruption, insurgency, and inability to pursue quick economic reforms leading to the depletion of the naira against the dollar, as well as the compounding foreign loans, are enough for the President to deal with. Since President Tinubu has vowed to toe the abysmal rule of his predecessor, Buhari, which he has eloquently shown, Nigerians should prepare for the worse to come,” the monarch said.

ECOWAS lacks the power to invade Niger —Ogwuche, SAN

A senior member of of the legal profession, Festus Ogwuche, SAN, stated, “ECOWAS lacks the capacity, both morally and legally, to make any military incursion into the territory of its member states.. To do that will amount to aggression, forbidden under International law.

There is no rule or principle, in the ECOWAS Treaty, Protocols, or Declaratory Principles allowing the regional body to invade another country in the name of preservation of democracy. Let us even keep the moral issues aside and go into the propriety or otherwise of such unilateral action.

We know the circumstances of the body’s intervention in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea, which borders on serious issues of humanitarian concern – but tell me, when did the commitments to the preservation and promotion of democracy transmute to a right to use of force to restore democracy.

The ECOWAS fundamental political principles forbid such action in its totality. It completely forbids the use of force in any form, and humanitarian law attaches serious consequences to it as a function of the defined international criminal responsibility it fetches for perpetrators.

As a regional body, ECOWAS should not take such an action, but individuals involved directly, who should be ready to carry the burden of criminality it fetches under international law.”

Examine the issues appropriately–Saidu, IHRC president

The President of the International Human Rights Commission, Ecology, and Marine, Africa, Alhaji Musa Saidu, urged President Bola Tinubu, and other leaders of ECOWAS to investigate the circumstance that gave rise to the military takeover, saying it would guide the regional integration body on the right steps. He advised against hasty military action by ECOWAS leaders in the Niger Republic, warning that they should exhaust other measures first, as the Niger Republic is largely a poor country. Let them hear from the people and investigate the issues.

“There is wide poverty; hunger in the Niger Republic. The country is poor and landlocked. ECOWAS leaders should also consider the plight of the poor in the area as they take action. ECOWAS leaders should properly investigate the issues that gave rise to the situation in Niger Republic. It is also a lesson to African leaders to fix poverty, and insecurity in their own countries.”

Military deployment in order–Ikimi, lawyer

Human rights activist and lawyer, Oghenejabor Ikimi, told Saturday Vanguard, “I think the order for the deployment of ECOWAS soldiers to oust the military junta in Niger and restore constitutional order is a welcome development where diplomacy fails.

It is a sign that ECOWAS as a sub-regional body can now bark and bite at the same time. I think ECOWAS is aware of the urgent need to curtail the military coup pandemic that is bedeviling the sub-Saharan and Sahel Region and the need to halt same before it spread to their respective countries.

Nigeria will not shoulder much of the burden as opined in many quarters because it is a sub-regional affair backed by the AU, EU, US, France, and Great Britain.

This is not the ECOMOG of yesteryears hastily put in place solely by Nigeria. ECOMOG was more of a Nigerian affair than a regional affair. Military intervention would be the last option where diplomacy fails. With the recent rebuff of Nigerian, ECOWAS,, and US separate delegations by the Niger military junta, I think military intervention to restore constitutional order in Niger would be inevitable, and the Nigerian Senate may see the need to reconsider its earlier stand.

“However, ECOWAS must also fight institutional coups taking place in many member- countries by distancing themselves from dictators. These inactions and omissions no doubt are the reasons for a coup in our sub-region. They should not encourage military coup,” he said.

Nigerians stand by their Senate–Mudiaga-Odje, constitutional lawyer

Constitutional lawyer, Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje, asserted: “Indeed, the Senate under our Constitution has the undiluted power to approve the deployment of Nigerian troops on an external mission, as in the Republic of Niger case. However, it declined to so approve and recommended a diplomatic approach. By ECOWAS approval of military intervention in Niger, Nigeria being the chair thereof, will wittingly and/or unwittingly shoulder herculean responsibilities in that regard.

Under the 1999 Constitution, Mr. President can still deploy troops with other ECOWAS countries to Niger, but Mr. President must get authorization from the Senate seven days after such deployment.

The Senate must approve same, not later than 14 days after the President has so deployed our troops on that Niger mission To my mind, Mr. President is in a thorough quagmire. As Chair of ECOWAS, we owe them a duty to follow suit in their collective aspiration to restore constitutional democracy in West Africa, nay Africa. It is a must for all, especially Nigeria, which is the power base of that region nay Africa. Nigeria, therefore, must join ECOWAS in both the conception and implementation of her military template to restore democracy in Niger. Mr. President can apply after seven days to the Senate to ratify and /or allow his deployment of Nigerian troops on this laudable ECOWAS mantra. Above all, Mr. President can also provide substantial funding and logistics for the ruthless implementation of the commendable ECOWAS decision.

Hostilities not good for Nigeria–Omare, ex-IYC president

Former president of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, and lawyer, Eric Omare, said; “From a legal perspective, the President of Nigeria cannot deploy the armed forces for combat operations in Nigeria without the approval of the National Assembly sitting in a joint session. Since the Senate has rejected the initial request, it already hamstrung Nigeria in deploying its armed forces from a constitutional perspective.

“However, from a diplomatic angle, I would suggest that they should explore other means of conflict resolution, outside use of force, but with the overriding aim to restore constitutional governance to Niger. I suggest this option because of the realities on the ground.

Our immediate problem as a country is to restore some stability to our economy. Therefore, going to war in Niger and spending our limited resources would only worsen our present economic situation and this would be counterproductive bearing in mind the fact that the first principle of International relations of any nation is domestic interest.”

Disregard military option —Ekwok, ex-PFN chair

Immediate past chair of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Cross-River State, and lecturer, Mass Communication, University of Calabar, Cross River State, Dr. Lawrence Ekwok, stated, “I am concerned about Nigeria. How can a man leave his own house, which is under fire to try to fight another man contending the commonwealth of their family with his brother, is that normal? How can someone whose position is in the contest, and some persons even accusing him of occupying a seat illegitimately lead the battle to restore a legitimate regime reportedly installed illegitimately?

Nigeria should just end with a diplomatic approach and forget about the military options because the matter is deeper and more complicated than it seems. Nigeria may regret this in the end if it insists on a military option. How many other countries in ECOWAS have a real capacity for real military force to support Nigeria in the fight? Remember that some countries in ECOWAS are not supporting the military move for obvious reasons, which makes it even more challenging- going to war with a divided house.”

No to military action—Onuesoke, PDP chieftain

Former Delta State governorship aspirant and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, said: “I think morally, politically and continentally, Nigeria’s President, who heads ECOWAS, is not competent enough to order military action against the junta. I was expecting ECOWAS to go on diplomatic negotiation. Second, some of these countries that are coming out to say they are civilian countries in West Africa, what is the credibility of the elections that brought them to power? They are questionable elections. For me, I do not support military action. I think we should embark on diplomacy even if it takes 180 days for a transitional government.

Has Tinubu been able to fight Boko Haram and insurgency in Nigeria? Has he been able to fight kidnapping in Nigeria? Somebody is telling me he wants to fight the Niger Republic when nearly 100 days in office, kidnappers, bandits, and gunmen are still terrorizing the whole place. I do not think it’s right to confront the Niger Republic with military action. It will not work.”

Avoid military action—Emiaso, retired customary court president

Retired President of the Delta State Area Customary Court, Miakpo Emiaso, said: “I do not think that ECOWAS or Tinubu’s Nigeria has what it takes to engage in any military action in Niger. My advice is that Nigeria should steer clear of any military activity in Niger.

l do not think Nigeria has the resources to do it and even if they have the resources, they won’t succeed in what they set out to do. They will not achieve the objective.The Tinubu administration has already made many mistakes regarding the situation.

In the first place, do not forget that the coup in Niger is not a coup against the government of the ousted President. The coup in Niger is a coup against France, and that is why you see that the other francophone West African countries around Niger are supporting the coup plotters because the French government has been villainous towards their colonial regions.

Therefore, the coup is against France and its colonial policies not against the President. Therefore, if you go with a military agenda, you are going to fight against not just Niger but against other former French colonies. On principle, we do not have a strong ground on this issue. Tinubu should not put the lives of Nigerians on the line because you want to protect an individual whose administrative machinery was not doing his country any good. Military action in Niger will have very far-reaching consequences on Nigeria.

Once you start a military activity in Niger, the people of Niger will run into Nigeria and we will have a complex problem of displaced people which the country is ill-equipped to handle. If they find their way into Nigeria, it will create more problems for us and put a lot of stress on our food supply and our local security situation; more bandits will flow into the country. That military action is just not an option. Do not just go there.”

I support Niger coupists–Hon Umoh, ex-Akwa Ibom speaker

A former member of the House of Representatives in Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Peter Umoh, said the Nigerian 10th Senate acted well by rejecting President Tinubu’s proposal for military intervention to restore democratic rule in Niger Republic. Umoh who was also a former Speaker of Akwa -Ibom State House of Assembly, however, said he supported the military takeover in Niger if the reason was to free Niger from the colonial tutelage of France. His words: “My view is that the Senate has acted well and under the feelings of Nigerians, particularly Nigerians, whose states, and communities border with the Niger Republic.

It is important that when a situation arises as it has happened in Niger Republic, the ECOWAS community/authority should not rush into the last line of action that it has the power to do so. It is important that each of the countries that make up ECOWAS should find time to consult with the Legislature, traditional rulers, and eminent personalities in those member countries.

Whatever decisions the President takes, can influence negatively or positively on the lives of the Nigerian citizens. Therefore, the Senate has acted within the mood of Nigerians, because Nigerians won’t support any military intervention. Personally, as a historian, I support the military takeover if the reason is to free Niger from the Colonial Tutelage of France and to abrogate the agreement that so bound Niger and other Francophone countries. Elected Presidents of these countries are incapable of exercising the courage to look at France eyeball- to eyeball to tell them enough is enough.

Therefore, if the military can do that, I support them. We are Africans and our first line of protection should be the interest of Africa. The whites protect their own interest. If France is of the view that the military takeover of the Niger Republic is bad, let France publish publicly the agreement it signed with Francophone countries to control their minerals. Let France publish the content of that agreement so that any reasonable man and woman in the 21st century can see and judge whether that is fair.”

Not a good decision–Imeabe, president, S-South youths

The President of South-South Youths Initiative, Mr. Saviour Imeabe, said: “It is not a good decision Nigeria is facing security challenges worse than what is happening in Niger. I think at the moment, President Tinubu should think about solving Nigeria’s problems.”


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China Reaffirms Commitment To Nigeria, Renovates Ogun School



The Chinese Consul-General, Lagos, Yan Yuqing, has reiterated the commitment of the People’s Republic of China towards assisting Nigerian government to develop its education sector.

The Chinese Consul-General disclosed this during the commissioning of renovated China-Nigeria Friendship Model Primary School, Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Yuqing said China is quite convinced that education is the foundation of national development and a weapon to fight poverty.

He said China is always willing to partner with her host country to make meaningful investment in the critical sector

The projects sponsored by the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone included a block of classrooms, cafeteria, as well as donation of educational materials to the pupils of the school.

Yuqing said, “Chinese admire that education is the foundation of national development in the long run and strong weapon to fight poverty. All modern countries in the world do not fail to attach importance to education. As the largest developing country in the world, China has made remarkable achievements in all aspects of social development.

“These achievements are inseparable from our unswerving implementation of the strategy of invigorating China through science and education. And we always place education in a strategic position of priority development. We will continue to support Nigeria’s education system in all areas”.

She added, “Eleven years ago, the construction of this school began. Since then, this school has become a bridge of friendship and understanding between Nigeria and China and it has witnessed sincere friendship from China.

“Today, you can see here, the classrooms are more spacious, the campus is more beautiful, and the facilities are more complete. I hope that all the children will study harder in these improved classrooms and strive towards achieving their goals as soon as possible”.

While advising the pupils, the Consul-General said, “Children education is related to the future of a country; now you are the future of Nigeria. Work hard and fight for a better tomorrow for the prosperity of Nigeria.”

The Deputy-General, China-Africa Investment, Kevin Liu, said the China-Nigeria Model School stands for knowledge, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding, saying, “These values promote global peace and cooperation and we are committed to maintaining this standard for generations to come”.

Governor Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by a Commissioner-designate,Mr. Sesan Fagbayi, disclosed that the project would no doubt further foster smooth bilateral relationship with the Chinese government.

Abiodun has however appealed to the residents of Igbesa to continue to cooperate with the Chinese investors for peace and friendly environment in order for their businesses to thrive.

The Oloja-Ekun of Igbesaland, Oba Oluwatoyin Akinde, represented by Otunba Ade Durojaiye, lauded the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone for the project pleading for more support in developing the town.

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Fresh Strike Looms As NLC’s Ultimatum Expires Today



AS the ultimatum by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to the Federal Government to address the mass suffering and pains occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol expires today, the leadership of the Congress will meet next week to decide when to begin an indefinite nationwide strike.

But Vanguard gathered that the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has been meeting with some members of the government team on how to avert the strike.

It was also gathered that the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, alongside the Vice President, are putting together a package, including wage awards, to be presented to the NLC leadership.

It will be recalled that NLC had between Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday 6 embarked on a two-day nationwide warning strike to protest, among others, perceived government insensitivity to plights and sufferings of Nigerians, especially workers, following the subsidy removal.

Ahead of the warning strike, the National Executive Council, NEC, of NLC had issued within 14 working days or 21 days from September 1, 2023, an ultimatum for the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country, threatening an indefinite strike if government failed to address its demands.

As the 21-day ultimatum expires today, Vanguard learned that critical organs of NLC will be meeting next week to decide on the indefinite strike and modalities if nothing concrete was done to lessen the suffering and hardship of Nigerians.

A source said: “The issue is conventional, when an ultimatum expires, you call your organs and the organs will decide when to commence the strike. If we ever decide to say we would take one day or few days or one week to prepare for it, that would be their position.”

Pressed to be more categorical on whether the strike would commence immediately, one of the sources privy to the NLC meetings simply said “Nothing is impossible.”

‘Meeting to hold on a date for the strike to begin’

Another source told Vanguard that the “last NEC held on September 1, 2023, has actually given the leadership of NLC, especially members of the National Administrative Council, NAC, the go-ahead to meet, fix a date for the commencement of the indefinite strike and communicate to the state councils and industrial union affiliates.

“I can tell you that the leadership will meet next week and fix a date for the strike. However, if NAC members are convinced that the government has addressed our demands to an appreciable level, in such a case, the leadership will still call the organs to brief them of the development.”

‘Govt team working to avert strike’

The source, however, said available information revealed that the government team is working seriously to avert another round of industrial unrest by NLC.

He said further that both the minister of finance, and the vice president, who is standing in for the President who is attending the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, Summit in New York were considering some figures.

“So they know the seriousness of the planned action and some of them are speaking out boldly that they are not afraid because of the package they have for workers.

“Available information is that the government will soon announce what it has. They are really making efforts and again the President is not in the country.

“What we don’t know is whether what they have will be enough for NLC to consider or not. In the past two to three days, the vice president has been meeting with some of the government team to come up with something. “

The source made it clear that the NLC leadership had said it would not be part of any meeting if there were no tangible packages for workers.

Attempt to get a reaction from the Presidency did not yield any results as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, is out of the country.

The presidential spokesman is with the President in New York for the UNGA summit.

Recall that while briefing last Friday, after its NEC’s meeting, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said: “NEC-in-session of NLC resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country.

“To commence a two-day warning strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5th and 6th September 2023 to demonstrate our readiness for the indefinite strike later in the month and to also demand that the state vacates the illegally occupied national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. “

The NLC also resolved to embark on a mass protest and rally in Imo State within September, and equally raised the alarm over what it described as a renewed onslaught by the government and its agents on labour unions.

Ajaero explained that the proposed strike was necessitated by the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard to engage the relevant stakeholders through the channel of social dialogue.

He said the Federal Government had refused to engage and reach an agreement with organized labour on critical issues on the consequences of the unfortunate hike in prices of petrol which had unleashed massive suffering on Nigerian workers and masses.

Ajaero said: “There is a renewed onslaught against trade unions and its leadership by the state and its agents across Nigeria.

‘’The Police, under the instruction of certain forces peddling the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, invaded and occupied illegally the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers headquarters seeking to install its own executive.”


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Kogi Declares Free Education In Primary, Secondary Schools; Commences Distribution Of Palliative



The Kogi government on Thursday declared free education for indigenes at primary and secondary school levels.

Governor Yahaya Bello made the declaration in Lokoja when he inaugurated the distribution of the federal government’s palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“My administration has now declared free education from primary to secondary school in the state and will cover examination fees for WAEC, NECO, and JAMB for all indigenes of Kogi,” he declared.

Mr Bello, who commended the federal government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on citizens, said the palliatives, which were valued well in excess of N2 billion,  would reach intended beneficiaries regardless of political, religious, or ethnic affiliations.

He extended his gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for the idea.

“Already, all the local government areas of the state have commenced the distribution of rice and other essential items.

“Therefore, this launch is essentially an extension of our ongoing efforts to cushion the impact of the current policy on our citizens.

“We are not only distributing rice but also making cash available to reach the people. The total value of what we are launching for distribution today exceeds N2 billion, and it is intended to reach every household in Kogi,” he stated.

He emphasised that those responsible for the distribution must not discriminate, warning that any report of bias or favoritism, or hoarding would be dealt with accordingly.

The governor, who called on security agencies to ensure a peaceful and smooth distribution process, assured the people that more initiatives to alleviate hardship were in place.

He commended the state’s people for their support for Mr Tinubu’s administration and the New Direction administration in Kogi, which had prioritised the welfare of residents.

While mentioning the various infrastructure developments that had taken place across the state, Mr Bello expressed confidence that the governorship candidate of the APC, Usman Ododo, when elected as his successor, would continue to build on the current achievements. 


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