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Niger coup: No, Mr President, we can’t go to war

I have read reactive commentaries on the military coup in Niger with utter indignation and revulsion. The truth of the matter is that Niger is a…

I have read reactive commentaries on the military coup in Niger with utter indignation and revulsion. The truth of the matter is that Niger is a sovereign state with sovereign rights to make its choices based on its peculiar national exigencies.

Therefore, we must as a country respect the Articles of the UN Charter on non-interference in the internal affairs of an independent member nation-state. Perhaps, at this juncture, we must resist the temptation and the nagging toxic urge for the intercontinental and subregional power play and the taunted disastrous military adventurism.

Besides, when did we become a continental policeman for enforcement of democratic patents? Mr President, let the hawks at the Pentagon pushing for the calamitous military intervention in Niger share with you a chapter on their stupendous transnational military adventurism and the resultant historical landmark defeat in Vietnam and account of their bloodied nose in El Salvador, Nicaragua and their delicious humiliation at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Not the least though, the epitaph of their recent embarrassing military intervention and escape from Afghanistan, before you take a bloodied leap into the dark. The truth is that any such intervention could immediately transform our third-grade banditry into a very dangerous jihadist crusade against the infidel Nigeria.

As far as we can recall, the most painful lesson from Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency in the Northeast, was the tragic irony of the fact that ethnic loyalties are far deeper and darker in the conscience of tribesmen than the loyalties of citizenship and nationality. The awkward situation of Nigeria is that, in all the border states of the country, hardly will you find an extended family without direct biological fraternity with their biological relatives across the border. Therefore, let us be careful what we wish for ourselves. For God’s sake, let us have the generosity of wisdom to learn from the tragedy of the American military cum democratic crusade in Afghanistan, which became the rallying cry for the rise of radical Islamism amongst the Taliban and the Afghan Mujahideen before them.

Your sanctions unjustified, Niger Coup Leader tackles ECOWAS

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Furthermore, on the trajectory of the resolution of heads of governments of ECOWAS sanctioning military intervention in Niger, I absolutely share the opinions of some of the leading lights of international law on this issue. According to Professors Ian Brownlie (with due respect), P. Sands (with due respect) and Professor Roselyn Higgins (with due respect) one time President of the International Court of Justice, multilateral resolutions do not amount to binding international treaty law and thus, do not create a binding multilateral treaty obligation, therefore, they are not legally enforceable.

On a final note, Mr President, just because you have a hammer, does not mean that every problem must look like a nail. In the same spirit, where everybody is thinking the same, then, someone else is not thinking. Let the government sustain the current diplomacy until a solution is found, every problem discussed is a problem solved. In the compelling wisdom of Winston Churchill, “it is better to jaw jaw than to war war”.

Professor Shehu Abdullahi Zuru (SAN) wrote from the Nile University, Abuja

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