…. Says It May Become Vietnam For West African Troops
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Monday, has knocked the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by President Bola Tinubu over its proposed “military intervention” plan in coup-hit Niger Republic.
HURIWA said the ECOWAS should not send troops to Niger Republic, warning that the landlocked country may become another Vietnam for West Africa recalling how in the 1950s, Vietnam descended into civil war, with the Southern government and US forces attempting to stop the spread of communism but US troops lost their lives tragically and had to withdraw.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it is a hypocrisy of the highest order for ECOWAS to send troops to Niger Republic when terrorists, kidnappers and bandits overrun Nigeria’s North-East and North-West states.
The group said the Nigerian leader and ECOWAS chair should remove the log in his eyes before removing the log in the eyes of others, adding anything aside from this is tantamount to hypocrisy and double standards.
Last week, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar Tchiani, and the chief of Niger’s Presidential Guard, declared himself leader while the country’s elected President, Mohamed Bazoum, has been held by the military since the coup took place last Wednesday.
From August 2020 till date, no fewer than five coups have occurred in three West African countries. Whilst those of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea were successfully carried out by juntas, attempts in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau were foiled.
Also, one of Nigeria’s neighbours, Chad, had an unconstitutional change of government led by Lieutenant General Mahamat Idriss Déby after his father died of injuries sustained in clashes with rebels in the country in April 2021.
Reacting to the latest coup in Niger Republic, ECOWAS under Tinubu’s leadership gave the military authorities in Niger Republic, a seven day ultimatum to relinquish power or face severe sanctions.
The sub-regional bloc imposed immediate financial sanctions and demanded the “immediate release and reinstatement” of President Mohamed Bazoum.
The regional bloc made it clear that if the demands are not met within the specified timeframe, they will take all necessary measures to restore constitutional order in Niger, which may include the use of force.
However, Niger’s military leaders have warned ECOWAS not to send troops to the Republic of Niger.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Unconstitutional takeovers are illegal and anti-democratic, no doubt about that and HURIWA will never support military takeover of constitutionally elected government whether in Niger Republic or elsewhere.
“Having condemned the development in Niger Republic, it is important to warn ECOWAS led by Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu against the deployment of Nigerian soldiers to intervene in Niger when we haven’t defeated terrorists within Nigeria. Any intervention militarily by Nigeria is a gamble we can’t afford and Niger may become like how Vietnam dealt a deadly blow to the US forces the late 60’s.
“Tinubu and other West African leaders should see the Niger military intervention as an early warning signal for them to behave and not trample on the rights of their citizens or introduce economic measures meant to drive the people to their early graves.”