A security analyst, Colonel Festus Aboagye (Rtd.), has said that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was hasty in its threat to carry out military intervention in Niger if the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum was not released and reinstated on Sunday, August 6, 2023.
On July 27, soldiers, primarily from the presidential guard, seized Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, leading to the dissolution of the constitution, suspension of all institutions, and the closure of the nation’s borders. President Mohamed Bazoum remains in the custody of the presidential guard.
ECOWAS, therefore, gave the coup leaders until Sunday to reverse the military takeover and restore President Bazoum’s rule, but the coup leaders have closed the country’s airspace until further notice, citing the threat of military intervention from their neighbors. Flight tracking website Flightradar24 is showing that there are currently no aircraft in Niger’s skies.
“I would wish to suggest that ECOWAS was being hasty, not quick. When you have a dispute, you have a number of options, tools, and approaches that you can use. So even in international law, the UN charter emphasizes the pacific settlement of disputes.”
“When you have exhausted all of those options, then you may use force as a last resort. And even that force is clarified to be a defensive force, because you have to be aggressed. None of these happened. At the time that ECOWAS met, when it imposed a sentence, it also imposed an ultimatum,” he said on Accra-based Citi FM.
Mr. Aboagye said that the proclamation of ECOWAS defeated the gesture of sending any delegation because once sanctions and ultimatums had been imposed, there was no need for negotiations. For this reason, he said, ECOWAS was hasty.
“And my concern is that it is not the first time. Each time there is a coup, that is the very approach that we take. When we were the chair of ECOWAS, we did the same thing. We take punitive measures before we engage, and we don’t do that. You engage first and exhaust all your options, it might take time, but that is the nature of diplomacy,” he added.