The Forum of Kings and Traditional Leaders of Africa has appealed to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) not to resort to the use of military force in the Niger crisis.
In a press release signed by it’s President, Torgbi Amenya Fiti V, the forum was of the conviction that the deployment of troops to intervene in the Niger crisis would further worsen the already escalating situation and called for dialogue and diplomacy in handling the crisis and restoring constitutional order to Niger.
The release read in part: “In full acknowledgement of the complex challenges and humanitarian situations in member states on their citizens as a result of Coup d’etats and their attendant crisis and the ongoing deliberations by ECOWAS towards the reinstatement of the ousted democratically elected leader of Niger, President Mohammed Bazzoum, it is important to note that the recent Coup d’etat in Niger, has shaken the very foundation of our democratic principles and threatened the stability and progress of our continent in the context of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 – “The Africa we want” and the ongoing preparations towards the full implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The release recognized the efforts of all leaders of ECOWAS in upholding the principles of democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law in all member states while respecting their cultural and historical context, but opposed any efforts aimed at undermining the independence and sovereignty of any African nation.
The Forum urged the leaders of ECOWAS to exercise prudence, caution and a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in military interventions considering the experiences in Liberia, Sierra Leone and La Cote D’ voire.
The release called for an all inclusive and multilateral approach to resolving conflicts in general, emphasizing the importance of engaging traditional leaders or land owners as integral stakeholders in the peace building process, leveraging their unique insights and influence in fostering lasting peace and stability on the continent, adding “there is the need to find comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the root cause of Coup d’etats and conflicts in West Africa especially the Sahelian regions, focusing on prevention of future crisis and escalations.
It condemned the 26 July Coup in Niger and urged African leaders to remain steadfast in upholding the principles of self determination, accountability and good governance thereby safeguarding the interests and well-being of their citizens.
The Forum was convinced that “by upholding these principles, we can secure a better future for our continent as we collectively ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and that African nations thrive on their own terms.”