Aug 16, 2023

“Nigeria cannot afford to go to war in Niger”

Following the coup in neighboring Niger, Nigeria’s president has led calls for a military intervention to restore the deposed government. CSI expert for Subsaharan Africa Franklyne Ogbunwezeh says Nigeria would be better off tackling its own domestic problems, including Islamic militancy.

Women prepare a meal in Borno, a northeastern Nigerian state bordering Niger. csi

Women prepare a meal in Borno, on Nigeria’s border with Niger. csi

 

On July 26, a group of military officers seized power in Niger. The West African country is desperately poor and is beset by an ongoing jihadist insurgency. But it is rich in uranium and serves as a strategic base for the United States and French militaries.

Now, neighboring states, led by Nigeria, are threatening to use force to restore Niger’s democratically-elected government.

In a video interview with CSI’s Joel Veldkamp, Franklyne Ogbunwezeh argues that the region cannot afford a new war, not least because a number of West African countries, including Nigeria, are currently battling jihadist terrorist insurgencies, such as Boko Haram.

Ogbunwezeh says that in calling for military action in Niger, Bola Tinubu – who won the disputed Nigerian presidential elections in February – is hoping to win international support and divert attention away from the Islamist insurgency and other domestic problems.

“The Fulani militants are committing genocide in the Middle Belt of Nigeria today and the president has not spoken a word about it,” he says.

“Nigeria cannot afford a war with anyone at the moment. The only war that Nigeria can afford is to contain the Fulani militants that are slaughtering people across the Middle Belt and the jihadists that are trying to take over the country,” Ogbunwezeh concludes.

Watch the video below.

Dr. Franklyne Ogbunwezeh: The coup in Niger and the threat of war

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