Amid the growing political tension in Gabon, President Bola Tinubu has said all diplomatic options will be exhausted with the military junta in Niger Republic before any last resort of military intervention comes into the picture.
He insisted that any forceful removal of a democratic government remains “wholly unacceptable.”
The president reissued the threat while receiving the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.
In Tinubu’s words, the alternative of kinetic intervention in Niger Republic had not been jettisoned.
“I must thank you for your several visits to Niger Republic, Your Eminence, but you will still have to go back. My fear has been confirmed in Gabon that copycats will start doing the same thing until it is stopped.
“We are neighbours with Niger Republic, and what has joined Nigerians together with their great people cannot be broken. Nobody is interested in a war. We have seen the devastation in Ukraine and Sudan. But, if we don’t wield the big stick, we will all suffer the consequences together,” the President warned.
President Tinubu noted that Nigeria, under General Abdulsalami Abubakar, instituted a nine-month transition programme in 1998, and it proved very successful, leading the country into a new era of democratic governance. The President sees no reason why such can not be replicated in Niger, if Niger’s military authorities are sincere.
“Your Eminence, please don’t get tired, you will still go back there. The soldiers’ action is unacceptable. The earlier they make positive adjustments, the quicker we will dial back the sanctions to alleviate the sufferings we are seeing in Niger,” the President affirmed.
On the hardship faced by many Nigerians post-fuel subsidy removal, the President assured that all ongoing reforms will liberate and reposition the economy, which will benefit the majority of the population in terms of opportunities, infrastructure, healthcare and education.