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Niger Junta Accuses Nigerian Government of Making Decisions Not Representative of Its Citizens

In a recent statement, the Nigerien government has asserted that Nigeria’s actions since the change of leadership in Niger were not representative of the Nigerian people but rather orchestrated by a misguided few in power, acting in alignment with the agenda of some Western powers with malicious intentions.

Initially, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, in his capacity as the leader of the ECOWAS Council of Heads of States and Government, activated the red alert for the ECOWAS military unit (ECOMOG) force to invade Niger and restore power from the military. Burkina Faso and Mali declared their resistance, standing with Niger to oppose such an invasion.

After the military takeover, Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries imposed various sanctions on Niger. An attempt to lift the sanctions through the ECOWAS Court was rejected. Presently, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso have announced their exit from the subregional body. Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries refused to accept this decision, insisting that it must follow a one-year notice to be legally valid.

In what appears to be a potential breakdown of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Niger, the Nigerien government issued a statement on February 1, condemning the Nigerian government’s position for not recognizing its sovereignty and freedom to join or exit any organization at will. The statement conveyed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Nigeriens Abroad’s surprise at the denial of reality and international law by the Nigerian authorities.

It read in part:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Nigeriens Abroad expresses its surprise at the denial of reality and international law in which the Nigerian authorities seem to be moving in refusing to admit for the sovereign Republic of Niger, the ability to withdraw from regional organization which, moreover, has been truly diverted from its noble missions and no longer meets the legitimate aspirations of the Nigerien people and all the peoples of the Alliance of Sahel States.”

The statement highlighted Niger’s rejection of the remarks in the press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, dated January 29, 2024, characterizing them as impertinent and condescending. It asserted that a small group of individuals, allegedly in the pay of foreign powers, carried these remarks, impeding efforts for a negotiated solution to the crisis arising from the events of July 26, 2023, in Niger.

The statement emphasized that Niger’s sovereign decision to exit ECOWAS, made in solidarity with Burkina Faso and Mali, was carefully considered. It criticized ECOWAS for not demonstrating compassion or providing significant support during the Sahel security crisis and the fight against terrorism. The statement accused ECOWAS, influenced by certain foreign powers, of being a threat to the peoples of the Sahel and its member states.

Regarding Nigeria’s responsibility, the Government of Niger regretted that history would record the “unfair, illegal, unjust, and inhuman sanctions against Niger under the leadership of the President of Nigeria”, the current President of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government. The statement highlighted Nigeria’s additional punitive sanctions, such as cutting off the supply of electrical energy and blocking the supply of pharmaceutical and food products to Niger.

The statement accused Nigeria of sheltering fugitives from the fallen regime and engaging in actions to destabilize Niger with the complicity of certain ECOWAS states supported by France. It noted that such actions aimed at the partition of Nigeria, to the dismay of the sister Republic of Niger.

The statement concluded by urging the Nigerian authorities to exercise restraint and preserve the age-old bonds of fraternity for the best interests of the two peoples. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, and Nigeriens Abroad reaffirmed Niger’s commitment to respecting international law and maintaining sincere relations of friendship and cooperation with peace and justice-loving countries and peoples.

 

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