“Don’t Attack Niger” NLC Advise ECOWAS

Joe Ajaero

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the use of military force to remove the military junta in Niger Republic.

NLC president, Mr Joe Ajaero, gave the advice in a statement signed by him yesterday in Abuja. Remember, that at the end of the second extraordinary summit of the Authority of ECOWAS (Committee of Heads of State/Governments) on August 10, 2023, it issued a terse statement to deploy military might to restore democracy in Niger. The statement had directed the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately. It also said the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force is to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.It also said this was in order to “underscore its continued commitment to restoring constitutional order through peaceful means.”

According to Ajaero, this is a euphemism for war, immediate war on Niger Republic, “our consistently most peaceful neighbour.” “It will amount to stating the obvious that we at the Nigeria Labour Congress are averse to military rule. “Indeed, the history of the struggle for democratic rule in Nigeria cannot be complete without mentioning the illustrious contribution of the labour movement. “Despite our unimpeachable credentials in the popular struggle against military rule, we would strongly counsel against the use of military force to remove the military junta in Niger Republic,” he said.

He added that the disadvantages clearly outweigh the benefits, from putting in danger the lives of the deposed President Bazoum and his family to the destabilisation of the entire region. He said this includes Northern Nigeria and loss of many lives in and out of the battlefield. 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.

“This is just as it might signal the end of ECOWAS as we know it today given the scenario of 10 members fighting five,” he said.

The NLC president also said 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. He added that while they cannot 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. “Coupled with this, we at the Congress have reason to believe that ECOWAS in part is a victim of its double standards or discriminatory policies. “As it was in some instances seen as condoning and even celebrating coups.

“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,” he said.

He noted that one of the consequences of weaponising electricity supply to Niger Republic was the right of proportionate responsible action. “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,” he said.

Ajaero added that this 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,’” he said. (NAN)


Ada Peter
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