Niger: Tension, scare as ECOWAS deadline inches closer
By John Eche
Tension levels have risen in Nigeria and Niger as the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS deadline for the Armed Forces of Niger Republic to stand down and restore constitutional order to the beleaguered Sahelian West African nation inches closer, The Difference reports.
According to the 7-day ultimatum handed down to the Armed Forces of Niger earlier in the week, and shortly after the July 26th putsch, they have until Sunday to stand down.
Presently, several sanctions have already been imposed on the country and the military junta, including the declaration of a no-fly zone and Nigeria cutting off electricity supplies to it.
However, a defiant military leadership in Niamey led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani has continued to call the bluff of ECOWAS even as it is allegedly receiving support from countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Russia.
The ECOWAS declaration and demand includes the restoration to office of deposed democratically elected leader, Mohamed Bazoum.
ECOWAS is led by Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and there is a veiled threat that an ECOWAS force may be dispatched to take out the military junta should they refuse to give in.
Foreign policy experts spoken to by The Difference have however cautioned that, all things considered, the military invasion path may indeed be a quite problematic route to thread given the dynamics on the ground and indeed in the expanded regional and global fields.
Several countries are presently organising the evacuation of their citizens from Niger to avoid their being caught in the enveloping crossfire.