The Defence Headquarters has reportedly commenced preparations for the possible mobilisation of troops and equipment for a possible confrontation with coup leaders in the Niger Republic.
This is coming amidst directives by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for troops to be on standby.
The decision was taken at an extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government hosted by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
The summit was attended by top diplomats from the United Nations, African Union and the regional bloc.
Recall that the junta on the 26th of July had forced the elected President, Mohamed Bazoum out of office.
According to Punch, the Nigerian military high command had directed the service chiefs to compile and submit-war requirements such as the number of personnel, equipment, logistics and financial costs to the Chief of Defence Staff.
The platform noted that it is the preliminary stage in the planning process of amassing human and material resources required for the planned military intervention in Niger.
A leaked memo indicated that about two battalions would be required to prosecute the war against the junta in the Niger Republic.
A battalion is a military unit typically consisting of 300 to 1,000 soldiers commanded by a lieutenant colonel and subdivided into a number of companies (usually each commanded by a major or a captain).
A military source who spoke with Punch said the total number of troops should be at least “10 times more than that of the enemy.”
Apart from Nigeria, Senegal, Benin and Ivory Coast, other ECOWAS member states are expected to commit troops to the standby force.
However, giving an update on the ECOWAS resolution on Friday, reliable military sources that spoke with Punch said the Nigerian military authorities had started activating the necessary levers to give full expression to the resolutions of the West African leaders.
A source noted that the Defence Headquarters would coordinate the deployment of troops and equipment for the operation.
The source said, “No deployment has been made for now, but the build-up is ongoing. Services are to forward requirements such as the required number of men, equipment as well as funds that would be needed to mobilise troops to Niger. The DHQ will coordinate the deployment of troops for the operation in Niger.”
When asked about the total number of troops that would be deployed, another source stated, “Military deployments are shrouded in secrecy, but it depends on how many men would be contributed by all members of ECOWAS. The total force should be at least 10 times more than that of the enemy.”
However, the Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau assured Nigerians that the participation of the country in the military operation in Niger would not affect the ongoing war against insecurity in the country.
His reaction followed concerns by security experts that military involvement in Niger might impact the ongoing operations against criminal elements across the country.
Asked if the ongoing operation against members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network, Boko Haram terrorists and bandits would not suffer setbacks with the planned deployment of troops to Niger, Gusau said, “I want to assure you that it will not in any way.”
The DHQ spokesman declined to speak on the preparations for the planned military intervention in Niger.