Face challenges of restoring democratic governance in Niger head on, Gen.Musa tells ECOWAS military chiefs

The Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) of Economic Community of West Africa States(ECOWAS), on Wednesday met in Abuja seeking means to restore democratic governance in Niger Republic in line with the directive of the authority of Heads of State and government of ECOWAS countries.

In attendance were the Chiefs of Defence Staff from Nigeria,Benin, Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Cabo Verde, and Senegal.

The Committee of Defence Chiefs deliberated on Niger political crisis and are working out a resolution within the 7-day ultimatum issued by the ECOWAS leadership on Sunday ,the outcome of which could either stabilise Niger or escalate tensions to war mode.

But conspicuously absent at Wednesday meeting are the Defence Chiefs from Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Guinea Bissau, whose countries have expressed their a vowed opposition to ECOWAS’ stance on Niger Republic.

Addressing the meeting, Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Musa said that the recent coup d’etat in the Republic of Niger is one event that calls for our collective attention and a united response.

“We must face the challenges of restoring democratic governance in Niger head-on, drawing on our shared experiences, wisdom, and collective resolve. Our decisions will have far-reaching implications for the ECOWAS region.

“ECOWAS’ strength lies in unity, shared values, and commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity. In this regard, we are tasked with a mission to restore democracy in the Republic of Niger and preserve germane humanitarian principles across the region.

“Our decisions will inevitably shape the lives of millions of people around the sub-continent,” he added.

He noted that ECOWAS, since its establishment, has remained steadfast in its commitment to promoting economic cooperation and regional integration.

“Equally, it has been resolute in its stand against any form of illegal takeover of power, as enshrined in the 2001 Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. It is this principle that compels us to convene today and address the current situation in Niger.

“The political instability in Niger is a source of grave concern for us all. It threatens our shared vision of a peaceful, secure, and prosperous West Africa, a vision that is impossible to achieve amidst political upheavals and disruptions to constitutional order.

“Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to deliberate on this issue and chart a course towards resolution, in accordance with the principles of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.

General Musa said they are not oblivious to the complex challenges that lie ahead,as the task of restoring democratic governance in Niger is fraught with potential hurdles and complications.

“However, we cannot afford to be hamstrung by these challenges. Instead, we must confront them head-on, drawing upon our shared experiences, wisdom, and the strength of our collective resolve.

“Our decisions will send a strong message about our commitment to democracy, our intolerance for unconstitutional changes of government, and our dedication to regional stability.

He urged the Defence Chiefs to remember the people of Niger, who are the most affected by the current situation adding that “our actions should be guided by their interests and wellbeing. It is our responsibility to ensure that their voices are not silenced, their rights are not trampled upon, and their aspirations for a peaceful and democratic country are not dashed.”

He called for openness, frankness, and constructive dialogue and encourage each one to contribute fully and freely, to listen attentively to each other, and to work collaboratively towards a solution that upholds our shared values and serves the best interests of the people of Niger.

He said he was confident that they can navigate these challenging times and emerge stronger as a regional community.