Former Governor Nasir El-Rufai cautioned President Bola Tinubu, stating that any military intervention by ECOWAS troops in Niger would essentially initiate a civil war against the northern region of Nigeria.
El-Rufai, who has maintained a public silence concerning recent political developments in Niger and ECOWAS’ subsequent actions, conveyed this warning through a tweet on Tuesday morning.
“As ECOWAS drums up the prospect of war, I’m reminded of the 1970s rock anthem by Dire Straits – ‘Brothers in Arms.’ A conflict within our subregion is equivalent to a battle between kin,” remarked Mr El-Rufai.
He emphasized, “In truth, the people of Niger Republic and those residing in Northern Nigeria are interconnected. We must make every effort to avert this fraternal civil war.”
El-Rufai’s caution comes following a falling out with Mr. Tinubu over ministerial appointments. This development emerged weeks after ECOWAS directed its troops to be prepared for action to reinstate constitutional order in Niger following the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum by his presidential guards in July.
On August 10, during the second extraordinary summit focused on the sociopolitical state of affairs in the Republic of Niger held in Abuja, ECOWAS President Omar Alieu Touray instructed the regional coalition’s forces to stand ready to intervene in the distressed nation.
“We instruct the committee of defense staff to immediately activate the ECOWAS standby force, complete with all its components,” Mr. Touray declared, clarifying that this action was intended to “reestablish constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.”
Mr. Tinubu, who chairs ECOWAS, highlighted at the summit that the ongoing political turmoil in the Niger Republic threatened the stability of Nigeria and other West African nations.