Niger Crisis: African workers reject military intervention, call for dialogue

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Niger
Niger

The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has advised the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to resort to dialogue in resolving the political impasse in Niger.

It said it was imperative that the regional bloc reversed its earlier course of using the military to intervene in the crisis.

Such an action would degenerate into violent hostilities, it cautioned.

“We are convinced that peaceful options exist and must be genuinely pursued.

“We say no to military intervention and yes to inclusive and genuine dialogue,” said ITUC-Africa in a statement signed by Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, the General-Secretary, and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

On July 26, 2023, soldiers detained Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum at his home in the capital, Niamey.

Hours later, they declared that they had seized power – citing the worsening security situation as a reason for their uprising.

This action by the military has since received condemnation by the international community, with most world leaders, civil society organisations and proponents of democratic rule denouncing the development in no uncertain terms.

They are advocating that the Sahel country returns to constitutional rule.

The regional bloc had given Niger’s coup leaders until Sunday (August 06, 2023) to step down and reinstate the elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.

The bloc has taken a hard stance on the recent military takeover – the seventh coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.

ITUC-Africa, in its statement, pointed out that a military option by ECOWAS would “most likely destabilise and worsen the already precarious situation in Niger with real contagion effects for the entire West Africa sub-Region and Africa as a whole.”

“Already, we are witnessing the interplay of external geopolitical interests and the issuance of counter-threats from some members of ECOWAS against the military invasion of Niger.

“These threats and counter-threats are heating up the sub-Region’s political spaces and pose real threats to peace, stability and cohesion,” the Union noted.

The statement reiterated the ITUC-Africa’s commitment to constitutionality and democracy.

It appealed to ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) to take steps to convene a solemn assembly to discuss the security and related issues threatening the socio-economic and political stability of the Sahel region and the African continent.

“We have been observing the security situation in the Sahel region in the past years, and our observations suggest that the security situation remains dire, fluid and problematic.

“A cocktail of extremists, terrorists and insurgents has continued to pose real threats to lives and livelihoods,” the statement lamented.

The Union bemoaned the thousands of people and workers killed, children kidnapped, schools destroyed, and farmers forced to quit their farms.

“These attacks partly account for why the countries in the Sahel region account for high rates of poverty, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), out-of-school children and violent civilian deaths,” the statement noted.

 

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