The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) against the use of military force to remove the military junta in Niger Republic, stating that the disadvantages clearly outweigh the benefits.
NLC handed down this warning t in a statement signed by its President, Joe Ajaero on Sunday, 13 August, 2023.
Thegazellenews.com recalls that the leaders of the ECOWAS member states met on Thursday, 10 August, 2023 in Abuja and decided to send out a “standby force” in an effort to restore constitutional democracy in Niger and reinstate the country’s expelled president, Mohamed Bazoum.
At the meeting, Bola Tinubu, the president of Nigeria, said that all options, including the use of force as a last resort, were on the table. The NLC claimed that such a move would only put the lives of deposed President Bazoum and his family in danger, cause the entire region, including Northern Nigeria, to become unstable, and result in the loss of many lives.
It also urged the governments to consider if they had the economic strength to prosecute a war since one could not predict what the end would look like.
“Equally of significance is the unintended possibility of turning Niger into a fertile territory for proxy wars.
Even after the war is over, the region must brace itself for heightened acts of terrorism or insurgency just as it might signal the end of ECOWAS as we know it today given the scenario of ten members fighting five.” it cautioned.
NLC further stated that suspicions were rife that the ECOWAS leadership was trying to pull out of the fire the nut for and on behalf of another or others, but added that while it could not ascertain the veracity of these claims, ECOWAS must conduct itself in such a manner that its citizens and the world would believe it has a mind of its own.
The Congress claimed that it had reason to assume that ECOWAS is a victim of its discriminatory policies or double standards in part because it has been accused of supporting and even celebrating coups in some instances.
“In the extant matter of Niger Republic, we equally do believe that ECOWAS did not exhaust the process of dialogue before beating war drums. The missions to Niamey were seen as an afterthought.
One of the consequences of weaponising electricity supply to Niger Republic is the right of proportionate responsorial action by way of Niger Republic damming the Niger River with unimaginable effects on our ecosystem.”
“Beyond all this, time has come for us to ask ourselves if we have the economic strength to prosecute this war. Even seasoned Generals do admit that we can often predict the beginning of wars but can seldom tell how they end.
“As we stated at the beginning of this statement, we are advocates of democracy and will do all that is necessary to promote and preserve it. However, what will preserve democracy in our territories will not be the threat or use of military force against sovereign nations but the observance of the core values and rules of democracy. It is up to our Presidents or political leaders to do the needful.
“It is in consideration of these that we join other organisations and respected voices in saying no to War!” the labour union said in the statement.