Niger: Olawepo-hashim Cautions Tinubu Against Military Action, Says Nigeria Must Return To Policy Of Non-alignment

Niger: Olawepo-hashim Cautions Tinubu Against Military Action, Says Nigeria Must Return To Policy Of Non-alignment

A former Presidential Candidate, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has appealed to Nigeria’s President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR), to have a rethink on the decision to commit Nigeria troops to the invasion of Niger in pursuant of the ECOWAS’ resolution to reinstate the ousted civilian government in the country.

According to a statement from his media office in Abuja on Sunday, Mr. Olawepo-Hashim explained that though “the invasion of Niger Republic may achieve the objective of removing the military Junta in Niamey, it has the potential of escalating the security problem in the North West and North East of Nigeria as the remnant of the fleeing men loyal to the Junta will hibernate in forests between Nigeria and Niger to escalate what the bandits have been doing to Nigeria in the past few years.”

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After the country’s military chiefs defied an ultimatum to restore the elected president, leaders of the West Africa’s regional bloc at the second extra-ordinary summit on the crisis in Abuja last Thursday maintained that it is seeking a diplomatic solution but has not ruled out using force to resolve the crisis saying all options are still being explored. It is also demanding the unconditional release and reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The threat of an invasion, though not specific, raises tensions in and around Niger, a uranium producer that until the coup was an important ally of the West in the fight against Islamist insurgents devastating the Sahel region.

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Olawepo-Hashim however reiterated the fact that “nations go to war primarily to protect their national interests, but in this case, there is no national interest of Nigeria at stake in Niger to warrant a commitment of Nigerian troops,” adding that the problem in Niger is an internal problem of Niger and at best a Francophone problem.

According to him, “Nigeria must return to its traditional foreign policy of pursuing peace and security in Africa, policy of Non-Aggression and Non-Alignment. We must remain Non Aligned to the interests of any foreign power at the Global stage as formulated by our founding fathers at independence. The policy of Non-Alignment championed by Nigeria and India earned the nation respect and friendship all over the world.”

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He stated that “Africa cannot afford another security mess similar to what happened after the invasion of Libya and overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi in 2012 that destabilised the entire Sahel region, and Nigeria is still battling with the consequences in mounting security problems in the North West and North East regions.”

While noting that military intervention is now regarded as an aberration around the world, he nevertheless, urged the ECOWAS to employ “constructive engagement and diplomacy” in ensuring that democratic structures are restored in the country.”

Oluwasegun Abifarin
Senior Media and Communication Adviser
Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim
13 August 2023

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