By Bukar Bolori
A coalition of peace groups under the aegis of Africans Against Conflict For Peace has criticized Senator Ali Ndume’s position calling for an end to the sanctions on Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
It would be recalled that ECOWAS under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu had placed economic sanctions and travel bans on Niger following the coup led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, against the democratically elected government of Mohammed Bazoum.
The sanctions have been variously condemned by Senator Ali Ndume, a Nigerian senator who is also in the ECOWAS Parliament.
Ndume had called for the ending of the sanctions, insisting that it was illegal and against the interest of generalities of people of troubled Niger Republic even as he claimed that the sanctions have equally adversely affected people of neighbouring towns to Niger whose businesses, he said have been put on hold.
In a reaction to Ndume’s criticism, a coalition led by Dr Jibrilla Gwadabe, the convener, in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, asserted that Senator Ndume was ill informed going by his position in the press against the sanction of the Nigerien military junta by ECOWAS.
Gwadabe said: “Distinguished Senator Ali Ndume does not understand the concept of coercive diplomacy, his constituency is the greatest beneficiary of the misfortune of terrorism that has led to the loss of thousands of lives and property more than anywhere else in the North East of Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin.
“The Military in Niger have now turned their attention to governance which is not their forte and have left their flanks open. Which is detrimental to the people that Ndume represents. Ndume should note that continued military rule in Niger will continue to increase challenges of insecurity and instability in the region that has already been engendered by terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime, as well as recent attempts at unconstitutional Changes of Government”.
Gwadabe added that: “ECOWAS is not at fault here, Niger Republic is also a signatory to the protocol that allows for the protection of civil constitutional rule. The truth Ndume has refused to mention is that ECOWAS Heads of State and Government are concerned over the dire humanitarian situation in the region and have noted its impact on education, livelihood and wellbeing of Nigeriens, especially children and women.
He explained that: “The ECOWAS Commission has already approved the provision of resources and support to the population to address the serious humanitarian situations in the region,” noting that: “It will be recalled too, that worsening humanitarian situation was exacerbated by the junta’s blockade of much needed humanitarian assistance from United Nations agencies.”
He, however, advised Senator Ndume to rather assert more efforts in calling for the release of Bazoum and an expedited transition to constitutional rule rather than laying blames at the wrong place.
He said the ECOWAS Commission and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu deserve much praise and support not condemnation.