Gambian US-Based Activist Calls on ECOWAS Leaders to Rescind Decision on Use of Force in Niger

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Basamba Njol Drammeh, a Gambian US-based civil rights activist

Basamba Njol Drammeh, a Gambian US-based civil rights activist, has called on Nigerian president Bola Tinubu, current chairman of ECOWAS, and Dr. Omar Touray, Chairman of ECOWAS Commission to withdraw the decision of reinstating Niger’s deposed President, Muhammed Bazoum through the use of force.

On Sunday, 30th July 2023, the leadership of ECOWAS, at the end of an Emergency Session of Heads of State and Governments of the regional bloc, issued an ultimatum demanding the immediate release and reinstatement of Niger’s elected President, Muhammed Bazoum.

The regional bloc gave a one-week ultimatum to the coup plotters led by former Presidential Guards Commander Abdourahmane Tchiani in Niger to hand over power to the deposed civilian President currently arrested or risk military intervention.

The renowned activist observed that using force to dislodge the military coup leaders in Niger will only be marred with deadly catastrophes, loss of lives, population displacement, and possible civil and regional war with the potential to split over to other West African nations.

“I am calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chairman of ECOWAS, and Dr. Omar Touray, Chairman, Ecowas Commission to rescind their decisions taken in Abuja on 30th July 2023, on the use of force in Niger to reinstate ousted President Muhammed Bazoum. I’m of the view that using force to dislodge the military regime and forcefully reinstate to oust President will be catastrophic, whose consequences can be detrimental to the whole region,’ BND disclosed in his reaction.

He added: “Undoubtedly, the use of force in Niger will be consequential to the population in Niger and the entire region. This could lead to loss of lives, displacement of the population, and possible civil and regional war with the potential to split over to other countries bordering Niger.”

The US-based activist reminded the leadership of ECOWAS of the use of force in Libya by France and the European Union (EU) in dislodging Col. Muhammed Khadafi from power, arguing that though the Libya leader was deposed, the consequences were not only limited to lost of lives and properties but equally the increasing terrorism and armed insurgencies within the Sahel regions.

He observed that the communiqué issued by the military regimes in Mali and Burkina Faso that any intervention in Niger is a declaration of war should also be a concern to the ECOWAS leadership, adding that besides this communiqué, the Niger army has been fully trained and equipped by both US and France over the years and forcefully removing them from power could be deadly.

“I strongly believe that using force to reinstate a deposed President is not the solution to coups in the sub-region. I believe if Ecowas Leaders are serious about ending coup d’etats in the region, they should establish a special commission where citizens and civil societies can petition their Heads of State, Presidents, and Ministers among other authorities who are found wanting,” BND offers his solution to the regional dilemma.

He went on further: “This Commission can be established in all the Capitals of the ECOWAS member states that can accord the opportunities to the citizens to account for the misconduct of their leaders. Without such a commission, stopping coup d’etats in the sub-region will be virtually impossible, gauging by the rampant corruption deteriorating living conditions of citizens among other socioeconomic challenges confronting nations in the region.”

The civil rights activist finally stressed that without a mechanism to impeach Presidents in the region, coup d’etats are bound to repeat themselves while calling on ECOWAS Leaders to rescind their decisions and search for alternative peaceful solutions for the good of not only Niger but for the entire subregion that has saddle with various forms of unrest for decades.

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