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Niger Crisis: ECOWAS’ Decision To Deploy Military Contradicts Diplomatic Attempts, Says Ambassador Mai-Sule

He said Nigeria must be careful not to be drawn into a proxy war between the West and Russia.

Ambassador Ibrahim Mai-Sule, a former Nigerian diplomat, has said that Nigeria, through the decisions of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), should not be launched into a proxy war that is happening between Russia and the West.

In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, the former diplomat also claimed that the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, was speaking plainly from the position of the Ivory Coast which was being sold to the leaders of the ECOWAS.

Following the second extraordinary meeting that was held by the ECOWAS after the Niger Junta did not comply to the 7-day ultimatum given to them to restore constitutional rule, the leaders of the ECOWAS ordered for the deployment of its standby forces to restore constitutional rule in the Republic of Niger. In response to this, Mai-Sule said, “The release appears to be a little bit contradictory. If you listen to the opening address of Mr. President, it virtually put more weight on the issue of diplomacy. And at the end of the day, I think when they went into a private session, that’s where this community chairman came out from. And if you listen to the Ivorian President, you can see that he was not addressing us, because he was saying that the war is not between Nigeria and Niger, but it was a decision of ECOWAS. And if you listen to him carefully, he will tell you that the Ivorian position was what has been sold to the leaders of ECOWAS.”

Airing his views on the recent power scuffle in Niger and the recent release by the ECOWAS that the military should be on standby in Niger, Mai-Sule said, “You cannot really negotiate with a threat. The first thing that made it very difficult for people to start thinking about this negotiation is the fact that you took a decision, cancelled flights, closed the borders, and what have you. You’re offering a negotiation, but you cannot negotiate with somebody on the basis of threat. You should first negotiate. It is only when the negotiation fails that you will think about what happens again. So, I believe, basically, that there is a lot of contradiction in the release itself.

“Two, I’m sure we should not allow this country to go into a proxy war between the West and Russia because at the end of the day, if you look at what is happening in Ukraine, if you look at what is happening in Sudan, and quite a lot of places, you see around Libya that has virtually finished, you can see, basically, this idea of pushing people to do certain biddings, and they use some of these seated leaders to set these their own ideas around.”

Mai-Sule then said that despite Ouattara’s speech, the decision of the ECOWAS meant a war between Nigeria and Niger. He said, “There are so many things that are going wrong, and I can’t see people like Ouattara having had the moral right to start telling people that this issue is not Nigeria and Niger…It is actually a war between us because there are a number of Nigerians that are going to be affected as a result of that war.”

He went on to say, “The basic issue is one has to be extremely careful with these sit-tight leaders, because obviously, the coup is not only the idea of military taking over government, a coup is actually where people extend their limits beyond what constitutionally is being provided for. That one is also a coup. When you rig yourself into an election, it is also a coup. So basically, the problem with these leaders is, ‘I am right, everybody else is wrong.’”

Mai-Sule then reiterated, “My fear is that we shouldn’t allow these people dictate us into another proxy war,” explaining that Russian Wagner military troops were stationed in Russia in support of the Nigerien Junta, and that any wrong move could reap consequences.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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