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Niger: Don’t plunge Sahel region into deeper crisis, Kano cleric warns Tinubu

Prominent Islamic cleric, Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo, has joined Nigerians to ask President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to go ahead with military action…

Prominent Islamic cleric, Dr. Muhammad Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo, has joined Nigerians to ask President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to go ahead with military action against Niger junta.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under Tinubu’s leadership had given the junta seven days to reinstate President Mohammed Bazoum or risk sanctions, including military action.

But while preaching to Muslim faithful in Kano, on Friday, the Kano-based cleric said the bond between Nigeria and Niger Republic had gone beyond neighborhood, emphasizing that the affinity is that of brotherhood.

He said Nigeria ought to ponder on fraternal relations it has had with both the state and people of Niger.

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He said any military incursion would further add salt to the injury to myriad socio-economic challenges in the Sahel region, advising ECOWAS to embrace peace.

He said, “ECOWAS should devise peaceful means that can work for the citizens of Niger and the region without any rancour and humanitarian issues.

“Everyone knows that war, especially at this moment, comes with several consequences. We won’t know how and when it ends. Now that the world polarized with every country alienated to a certain powers that be and Niger is rich with huge uranium deposits that is most sought after by these powers. They have interest there.

“There’s already a lot hostility in almost the entire Sahel region, so if another one sets in in Niger, will only heighten the humanitarian crisis in the region. You shouldn’t put out fire here, and one kindle worse than that at another point. It’s Nigeriens who would suffer most if military action is taken.

“Our leaders shouldn’t act as if they’re being teleguided by the West or former colonialists. Our peace shouldn’t be destabilized just for the sake of restoration of democratic order. We’re reiterating call to the leaders especially from the North who are sharing shores with Niger to tell the federal government that the planned military action against Niger is rescinded.

“Our Members of the Parliament, elites and even journalists should sensitize against the proposed military action and make sure it didn’t work out,” he added.

Tinubu had earlier notified the National Assembly of the plan to deploy troop in Niger.

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